There’s a ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Episode That Never Aired
Once in a while, the improv panel says something requiring an excise from network broadcast. For instance, there was one episode years ago where a Party Quirks bit required careful censoring due to inappropriate body touching.
However, one entire episode had to be cut during a very sensitive time. It also involved one of the most legendary improv comedians of all time.
Which episode of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ had to be cut from broadcast?
Go back in time to the fall of 2001, and Whose Line Is It Anyway? was still airing on ABC after initially premiering there in 1998. This was 13 years after the original British counterpart of the series debuted in the U.K. with many of the same participants.
One of the greatest aspects of the show in those days was bringing in special guests who were known for their improvisational comedy backgrounds. At that time, 70-something Sid Caesar was still going strong, if only seen on TV sporadically.
For the Whose Line Is It Anyway? taping of Sept. 9, 2001, Caesar appeared as a guest, and one of the games involved a foreign film dub. Numerous episodes had this setup where the participants would dub a random movie with different dialects.
Caesar was known for his ability to speak any dialect, albeit speaking nothing but gibberish. During this sequence, he started parodying Arabic, a choice that would hit differently just two days later.
Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything about this episode
The episode was already taped. But the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 changed the world.
Producers of Whose Line Is It Anyway? scrutinized their new episode at a time when anything ribbing Arabic would likely be thought insensitive. They made the call not to air the episode.
The show managed to help people laugh again post-9/11
When the show resumed on Sept. 20, there was a gap of three weeks before the last episode aired. The cast managed to get people back into a feeling of wanting comedy thanks to games such as Weird Newscasters, Narrate, Duet, Infomercial, Hoedown, and Three-Headed Broadway Star.
Thanks to this show and others, such as Saturday Night Live, everyone was reminded it was OK to laugh again after facing tragedy.