‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’: Danny Breen Was Never a Writer For the Show
The show has been on the air for many years in many iterations and dozens of cast members. But even though the show is improvisational in nature, many people work behind the scenes to make the show what it is. One of those people was Danny Breen.
Who is Danny Breen?
According to his IMDb biography, Breen was a veteran of the Second City improv troupe in Chicago, Illinois. Second City was one of the most famous improv theaters ever. It launched the careers of multiple comedy stars included Rick Moranis, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Carell, John Belushi, and John Candy.
Breen’s main claim to fame was as a writer and a producer (more on that below). He also starred on numerous sitcoms including Martin, That 80’s Show, According to Jim, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and many more. He even guest-starred on the greatest sitcom of them all: Seinfeld. He played a man who owned a pair of tortoise-shell glasses that Elaine Benes wanted to purchase to make an ex-boyfriend jealous.
Sadly, Breen passed away in 2017 due to cancer. He left behind a legacy of great comedic performances. He also played an integral role in the show Whose Line Is It Anyway? But what exactly is the history behind that show?
The history of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’
Whose Line Is It Anyway? began as a British program before moving to America. When the show moved to the States, it was hosted by sitcom star and comedian Drew Carey. It featured talented improvisational players such as Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, and others.
It was also the launching pad for the career of the multi-talented Wayne Brady. It was revived in 2013 after a few years off the air.
The show featured multiple short-form improv games in which players made up their jokes on the spot. Some of the games would involve comedic songs, really testing the players’ improv skills.
Each player is awarded points throughout the game, though the competition aspect wasn’t really the game’s emphasis (the host often arbitrarily added and subtracted points). At the end, a winner is declared by the host, and the winner would improvise over the show’s end credits.
So how was Breen involved with the show?
Danny Breen never wrote for ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’
Though Breen does have plenty of writing experience on his resume, he was not a writer on Whose Line Is It Anyway? The show credited Breen as a producer for 187 episodes with 19 episodes as a co-producer. He also received a producer credit on 35 episodes of the Whose Line revival show launched in 2013.
What shows did Breen write for then? He served as a writer on the staff of The Wayne Brady Show as well as for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
At the time of Breen’s passing, comedy website The Comic’s Comic released a profile on him. They reported the Second City released a heartfelt statement about him, the end of which sums him up quite nicely:
“He went on to produce and write for many television shows, such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway? Danny continued to improvise and performed all over the world. If you ask anyone about Danny Breen, they’ll tell you, “nicest guy ever.” We’ll miss you.”
Breen had a long, illustrious career in comedy, but being remembered for being “the nicest guy ever” isn’t a bad parting gift either.