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With the success of The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, this standup comic-turned-actor and producer has the rare honor of having two hit shows simultaneously. Carey's lovable everyman appeal and original humor has enabled The Drew Carey Show in its eighth season to remain a favorite for viewers. The show is praised for its groundbreaking innovations such as the multiple time zone live episode, website tie-ins, audience participation games and musical numbers. Carey continues to diversify his career with his cutting edge standup comedy, various cable and pay-per-view television specials and his work as an author. The Drew Carey Show, which premiered in 1995, is created, written and produced by Carey and Bruce Helford and was recently renewed through 2004. As a standup comedian, audiences enjoyed Carey's humorous interpretation of his very average life in Cleveland. This became the basis for The Drew Carey Show, a sitcom about a single everyman just trying to get by and have some fun along the way. Carey's involvement throughout the creative process ensures that the show remains true to his brand of comedy and his vision. Carey has been lauded for bringing one of the most innovative new shows to television and has been rewarded with ratings success. He is producer and host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Based on the British comedy improv television show, it is among the highest-rated non-scripted shows on television. The show, which debuted on ABC in August 1998, is executive-produced and created by Dan Patterson and also stars Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie. In 2001 Carey teamed with Showtime and Frito-Lay for a live pay-per-view improv comedy special, Doritos Presents Drew Carey's Improv All-Stars Live from the MGM Grand, featuring various members of the rotating Whose Line cast.
In May of this year Carey was honored to provide the entertainment at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, DC. His performance for President Bush and the prestigious audience was critically acclaimed and well received by the audience.
In May of 2000, Carey starred in his first television movie as the title role character in Geppetto, a presentation of ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney. He sang and danced in the new telling of the classic Pinocchio tale, which also starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus and featured music composed by multiple Academy and Grammy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz (The Prince of Egypt, Hercules). Geppetto topped the ratings on the evening it aired.
Carey's debut book, Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined, is a hilarious look at life from Carey's unique and comical perspective. The book, like his standup comedy, is raw, honest, explicit and politically incorrect. Published by Hyperion in 1997, Dirty Jokes and Beer spent three months on the New York Times best-seller list.
In July 1997 Carey returned to his standup comedy roots when he hosted HBO's Mr. Vegas All-Night Party. He felt right at home as he performed musical numbers and comedy sketches in Las Vegas, a city dear to his heart - along with Cleveland, of course.
Carey developed his trademark look - with military buzz cut and black wide-rim glasses -- while in the Marine reserves. He began his successful career as a comedian in April of 1986 at the Cleveland Comedy Club, and got one of his first big breaks competing on Star Search 88.
In January 1991, Carey landed a spot on HBO's 14th Annual Young Comedians Special. He also had his comedy dream come true with his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in November of 1991. He did so well that Carson bestowed a rare honor on the comedian by calling him over to the couch and keeping him there the whole show. Part of that appearance can be seen on the Best of Carson videotapes.
From Carson, Carey landed his own development deal at Disney and, while it didn't lead to a starring vehicle, it did lead to an opportunity for him to co-star in the series The Good Life. Although the series lasted for only half a season, Carey received critical acclaim for his work. He also had the opportunity to work with Bruce Helford, who was a consulting writer on the series. Helford was so impressed with Carey that he hired him as a staff writer for The Gaby Hoffman Show. Their experience led the two of them to decide to co-create a series for Carey. Carey also went on to star in his own Showtime special, Drew Carey: Human Cartoon, and performed in Showtimes's Tenth Anniversary of the Montreal Comedy Festival.
Drew Carey's new show
You have to be hipper than the guy next door to like this stuff," says Drew Carey about his new show on The WB, "Drew Carey's Green Screen Show."
Carey is calling in from his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where he's just participated in a fund-raiser for an old family friend, U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, who's making a bid for a second term. But just because he's helping out a friend doesn't mean that Carey, a Libertarian, has political plans of his own.
"No, don't worry about that," he says. "I have no aspirations at all. This guy's daughter is one of my best friends. I've known her for 15, 16 years, so it's been a long time. It's hard to say no when he says, 'Come out and raise some money.' "
Carey, who considers himself "semi-retired" since the demise of his ABC sitcom, "The Drew Carey Show" is busy attending soccer games, watching television, hanging out with friends and family -- and doing his little side project for The WB.
Airing Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., "Drew Carey's Green Screen Show" combines one of Carey's great loves, comedy improvisation (which he also showcased on the ABC improv game show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"), with animation.
Skits are done in front of a green screen (hence the name of the show), with wacky visuals filled in later that illustrate what the comics are acting out.
Along with Carey (who's also an executive producer, with Robert Morton and Ron Diamond), the cast features Brad Sherwood, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Jeff Davis, Chip Esten, Jonathan Magnum, Julie Larson, Sean Masterson and Kathy Kinney.
The show is paired with the comedy-sketch show "Blue Collar TV."
"I guess we held the 'Blue Collar' audience pretty well (in our premiere)," Carey says. "I don't worry about it anymore. I just do the show, and everything else is up in the air. Who cares? I mean, I care, but I'm not going to stress about it.
"I'm really happy The WB took a chance. It's going to be one of those shows, either you're going to get it, or you're not going to get it. I'm sort of a blue-collar guy myself, so just because it's me, it's a good match."
This easygoing philosophy is all part of Carey's post-ABC lifestyle. After several seasons as a hit, "The Drew Carey Show" fell on ratings hard times and had its last season unceremoniously burned off last summer.
" 'The Bachelor' got better ratings than I did (on Wednesday)," Carey says, "so I don't blame them for switching it. They always treated me great. But they didn't run promos for the last season; they didn't send out preview tapes. I thought that was kind of s----y, to go down the memory hole like that.
"That's the only thing where I thought, 'Gee, that's not very nice.' Trying to save a buck, I guess."
For now, semi-retirement agrees with Carey. "I'm taking it day to day. I like to travel and chill and hang out with my friends. I like to work, make people laugh, do interesting things like the 'Green Screen Show.' I'll see how it goes."