my facebook page is:

People know me from Whose Line, and we'll be coming back with new shows this summer!

Along with my husband, Rick Hall, I also teach song improv (like we do on Whose Line), and have created a cd set called "Improv Karaoke", to help people learn how to do it. Sure it's scary, but its also tons of fun.

I also have an Americana Folk band called The Sweet Potatoes. We play live in L.A. and tour also. I get to sing, play guitar, ukulele, and accordion. My partner, Kelly Macleod and I write all the songs, and we're working on our second cd.

I'm officially frazzled. This is sort of addicting in a weird way. But my blood sugar is getting low, so it's time to go. This was SO FUN. Thanks for having me on!

Comments: 2728 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

Laura_Hall2649 karma

hey everyone, I'm here. Thanks for having me!

pestilent_bronco382 karma

How much pre-show taping rehearsal time did you normally have? Did you know which styles of music you were going to play in that episode? I've heard lots of accusations about the show not being completely improvised, and the music games are so tight and well-done they seem like likely culprits of pre-planning. Would you tape multiple takes for the edit or are we watching it raw as it happened?

Musical improv is incredibly difficult. You do a fantastic job whatever the circumstances may be.

edit: wrong verb

Laura_Hall1022 karma

I've said in a different thread how our process worked. Even if we played around with a style before the show, the guys never heard the suggestions ahead of time, and we never did multiple takes of one song.

However, the show is edited. We would do 5 or 6 Greatest Hits and the producers would pick the best 3 for the show. So we were really improvising, but you're only seeing the stuff that went well.... Or sometimes the stuff that went horribly wrong, because that can be funny too. But what you're not seeing is the stuff that's just mediocre.

Laura_Hall2483 karma

Sorry I was gone for a while. On the phone with my manager finishing up my contract with the new Whose Line! I hate the contract part, so I'm really glad that's done so we can get to the fun part.

break out the champagne!

SunsFenix664 karma

Who else is coming back for the show?

EDIT: Woo first famous person I have gotten a reply from! Thanks for the reply and I can't wait to see it!

Laura_Hall1809 karma

Ryan, Colin and Wayne. New host, Aisha Tyler. Some new fourth chair people.

KyleRM661 karma

I'm so glad to hear you'll be back. the guy they had on Improvaganza didn't hold a candle to you. You (and Linda) were the unsung heroes of Whos Line.

Laura_Hall611 karma

thank you

ForestGnome446 karma

I will consider this the official announcement of the shows return.

Laura_Hall218 karma

yeah, who cares about those network press releases? You got the inside scoop on reddit.

Zomg_A_Chicken2048 karma

What happened with the piano when Wayne forgot how to spell "Howard"?

Laura_Hall2819 karma

My biggest screw up on the show, and that's what people remember the most!

There's a button on my keyboard marked "ACC". I never used it or even noticed it was there, but there are a million buttons on a keyboard that you never use. Apparently it stands for "accelerate". As I was playing I started laughing and must have accidentally bumped it, but since I didn't know it was there I had no idea what was happening. I couldn't figure out what made it speed up like that, so I just had to turn it off.

The best part for me was watching Colin trying to keep up with the dancing as it sped up, and the totally baffled look on his face.

WestCoastCole1528 karma

Has there been a time on the show when you could no longer play the piano because you were laughing too hard?

Laura_Hall2402 karma

It doesn't happen often. When you're playing for improv like that, you have to be so focused; listening to the singer, thinking about where you're going next, etc. that things don't sort of register as funny the same way they do when you're in the audience.

That being said, there was a Three Headed Broadway Singer we did where it was going great, and Drew got all swept up in the moment, and sang a whole bunch of words "Won't you take me on a..." When he realized what he'd done, he looked so genuinely surprised. I had a hard time keeping it together for that.

Just so you know, when I'm not playing, and just watching like an audience member, I laugh my head off.

AndySocks666 karma

[in a 50's style surfer voice] Watch out for those tempo changes, man. Cause when we go into the second bridge, this shit takes off.

Laura_Hall618 karma

He's brilliant, isn't he?

vibrant_pastel1413 karma

Do you have the hoedown song permanently stuck in your head?

Laura_Hall2264 karma

OMG, till the day I die! And what they cut out of the shows was how long I often had to vamp between singers....they'd be thinking and thinking, and I'd just be going round and round forever. Ahhh!

dzubz435 karma

Or the Irish Drinking song theme?


Laura_Hall653 karma

We never did the Irish Drinking Song as much as the Hoedown, but it had the ability to get stuck in your head too.

When I would drive home after work, I'd have to play music, any music, loudly in the car to get one or the other out of my head.

snail_boy827 karma

Hi, Laura! Thank you for doing this AMA! How was your career affected by the role you played on Whose Line is it Anyway?

Laura_Hall1168 karma

It's been a great foot in the door for lots of things, from my band, to teaching, to film scoring, to some cool live improv gigs.

fifasnipe2224349 karma

What other live improv gigs have you done?

Laura_Hall505 karma

I was touring for a while with Drew Carey and the Improv Allstars. Right now I don't have any group I play with regularly, but I sit in with different people when I get a chance.

My favorite is with a show called "Opening Night: The Improvised Musical" at the iOWest. And yes, it's a full on musical, with dialog, songs, choreography, all improvised off one suggestion. They're brilliant!

There's also an all girl group in Austin that does the same thing, "Girls, Girls, Girls". Amazingly talented!

will650767 karma

Were you supportive of the show bringing on Linda Taylor and Cece Worrall in later seasons of the original run?

Also, which hoedown was your personal favorite? Drunk mother, going bald, director, zoo…there were so many great ones!

Laura_Hall1337 karma

I loved all the other musicians who came on, and thought it added a great energy.

But Linda's the one. For one thing, she's a totally badass guitar player. We became such a team, and worked so well together that when the new shows came up, I didn't want to do them if she wasn't going to be there too.

Linda also played on my band's cd, we scored a short film together, we've done live shows together. She's the best.

cryode474 karma

Will she be joining you on the new Whose Line as well?

Laura_Hall891 karma

Yes, yes, yes. I love working with LT

Laura_Hall710 karma

I'm officially frazzled. This is sort of addicting in a weird way. But my blood sugar is getting low, so it's time to go. This was SO FUN. Thanks for having me on!

minghua531 karma

First, thank you very much for doing this AMA, Ms. Hall.

My questions:

  • What do you do during the games where no music is involved?

  • You don't talk on the show (except the time you messed up the piano and sped up the music way too much for Wayne Brady). Was this a requirement from the director(s), or you are allowed to talk, but choose not to?

  • What is your favorite type of games? One with music and one without?

Thanks again.

Laura_Hall1184 karma

  • When they played non music games (the least interesting part of the show if you ask me) we would hang out on the side lines, freezing our butts off because they kept the studio really really cold. We would just watch like the audience members.

  • The producers didn't give me a mic, so I never had the chance to talk. I do know how to though.

  • Of course the music games are my favorite. Even when I'm watching an improv show and not playing, I like the music improv the best.

dogman15147 karma

I, too, want to know if the musicians were allowed to talk. (Edit: After watching the "Howard/Horward" song, I see that they didn't really have speaking mics to talk into.)

Laura_Hall483 karma

I suspect they might have had to pay us more if we talked!

TheMuthaFlippin444 karma

How much were the musical parts of the show practised beforehand? Did you or the players know what tunes you were expected to do?

Laura_Hall860 karma

We would do a music workshop about 5 days before tape days. The producers would throw a bunch of styles at us, maybe 60, and we'd fool around with them. Sometimes we'd need to do more research on a style (like when they brought up Slack Key Guitar for example). Sometimes the singers would have to do some work if they were going to do an impersonation, and we'd have to find a good key for them to do the vocal impersonation.

When the weekend of taping started, the producers would let Linda and I know what 25 or so styles might show up in the three tape days. But we never knew when they would show up, and of course the guys never knew what the subject would be till we were taping. And of course Ryan would often throw us a curve ball in Greatest Hits and throw whatever he wanted out there.

jimberushi293 karma

In all seriousness, how much did you guys hate doing Hoedowns?

Zomg_A_Chicken352 karma

Ryan hated them the most.

Laura_Hall642 karma

Yes, Ryan hated them the most for sure!

I'll just say that I found the other games like Greatest Hits and Duets way more fun because you could be freer. The hoe down is such a specific form, it's kind of like playing Mad Libs or something, you're filling in the form, rather than creating the whole thing more from scratch.

humankirk290 karma

Hi Laura! I'm so excited that Whose Line is coming back and that you'll be a part of it!

I have a few questions: -What was your favorite game to be a part of? -What was your favorite game to watch? -Who is your favorite Whose Line member? -Are you close to Wayne, since most of his shining moments were with you? -Do you know how we can get tickets for the new season?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

EDIT: Also, what have you been up to since Whose Line ended?

Laura_Hall331 karma

I misses the end of this... like I posted at the top, I have a band I love, The Sweet Potatoes. We do original American Folk music. I get to sing, play guitar, ukulele, accordion and write songs. Her's our website:

And, along with my husband, I'm teaching song improv which is tons of fun. I alos made a cd called Improv Karaoke that helps people learn how to do it. It's got all these great improvisors on it, like Keegan Michael Key and Dan Castallenata to help teach Here's that link:

LutzExpertTera81 karma

I have to imagine your bands' jam sessions are epic.

jpramirez582 karma

More like yam sessions

Laura_Hall370 karma


Forgetheriver194 karma

Just cleaning up your question for ya.

Hi Laura! I'm so excited that Whose Line is coming back and that you'll be a part of it! I have a few questions:

-What was your favorite game to be a part of?

-What was your favorite game to watch?

-Who is your favorite Whose Line member?

-Are you close to Wayne, since most of his shining moments were with you?

-Do you know how we can get tickets for the new season? Thanks for doing this AMA!

Laura_Hall440 karma

alright, I won't have to answer anyone else after this ;)

  • Either Three Headed Broadway or Greatest Hits were my favorite.

  • I always liked Film Noir, when Ryan and Colin played it. It's so stylized and cool.

  • The one who can always crack me up is Colin. There's just something about him. I also think Greg Proops is a genius.

  • Wayne and I aren't especially close, just cause since Whose Line we've both been doing really different things. It will be great to work with him again.

  • I have no idea how to get tix, try the CW website.

Frajer268 karma

How did you prepare for the show? Did Drew ever ask for an artist or genre you didn't know and did you wing it?

Laura_Hall624 karma

Yes, one time Drew said Elvis, and for some reason I thought of Elvis Costello and Linda thought of Elvis Presley (which makes way more sense). We had a big crash and burn moment. But I think it was edited out.

Not to disappoint anyone, but the show was edited. For example, when we played Greatest Hits, they'd usually use 3 songs, but we probably did 5 or 6, and they picked the best ones. So when people ask "Were they really improvising? They can't be that good all the time", the answer is yes, they were improvising, but they weren't that good all the time. Its just the nature of improv.

cobaltcollapse217 karma

Was there any joke made on the show that offended you?

Laura_Hall532 karma

Never on the show, only on the tour bus ;)

Shizzll193 karma

Hi Ms. Laura Hall. Everyone give Laura Hall a round of applause; Ms. Laura Hall on the piano.

A little while back I was watching a documentary of all the iterations of Whose Line is it Anyway, and they mentioned in the UK tapings, the piano player was actually an improv artist who also played the piano. Because of his musical talents, he almost never got a chance to do anything besides play the piano.

My question for you is, did you find yourself in a similar situation? Where there any times where you wished you could have participated in other games where your musical talents (which I believe nearly all of Waynes points that, "didn't matter" could be attributed to your skills as an improvisational musician) weren't required?

Laura_Hall218 karma

People ask me that a lot. I love doing the music improv so much, I don't ever wish I could do the acting part. I admire it, and it certainly is more out front and visible, so people a lot of times assume I'd want to do it. But I've been a musician all my life, it's what I love to do. I love the collaborative process of being in the world of improv, but I love it from my end of things.

tpcollins172 karma

A big Whose Line memory that stands out for me is the Richard Simmons episode. What was it like being so close to that?

Laura_Hall534 karma

like standing near a tornado.

TLinden31167 karma

  1. How did you get the Whose Line gig?
  2. Does it pay as well as other TV acting/writing jobs? (i.e. six figures per year)? And do you still get royalties?

Laura_Hall397 karma

  1. I started out as a Musical Director at The Second City in Chicago, and also played with other improv groups like The Annoyance Theater, Improv Olympic, ComedySportz, Theater Sports, etc. One of the guys I toured with at Second City, Ron West, had been on the British show, and was hired as a producer on the American version. He got me the audition. I auditioned along with Wayne Brady and Brad Sherwood, so it was easy.

  2. No, I wish it did pay six figures! It's a totally different scale because it's considered a game show. I am still getting international royalties (they love us in Australia). But since the reruns aren't on ABC Family anymore I don't get American royalties anymore. All those YouTube reruns don't bring in any royalties at all!

Qwackrs261 karma

A game show? Didn't anyone tell them that the points don't matter?

Laura_Hall244 karma

no kidding

feyg0t161 karma

As far as improv goes, do you have any jazz background? Also if you could play any other instrument, what would it be?

Laura_Hall313 karma

I do have some jazz background, but like many of the styles we did on Whose Line, I can flirt with it, but I'm not a pro at it.

I do play a few other instruments: guitar, accordion, ukulele, melodica, percussion. I'd love to play tenor saxophone. The two time's I've tried, I practically passed out from all the ari it takes.

ultrachronic148 karma

Is Colin Mochrie as funny in person as he is on the show? Everything he does just seems to be so deliberate, and like he's been planning it for ages even though it's all improv.

Laura_Hall227 karma

Colin is just straight up funny no matter how you slice it.

brtdud7137 karma

When Ryan hit his head on the light fixture on Drew's desk what was your reaction

Laura_Hall227 karma

I thought it was hilarious.

dogman15137 karma

Hi Laura! The music bits were always my favorite part of Whose Line. You and Linda Laylor were great. Two questions:

  1. Is Kelly Macleod related to Kevin MacLeod?

  2. Who holds the rights to produce and release a CD or album of sorts of the music created on-the-spot on Whose Line? The stuff you and the vocal performers like Wayne Brady came up with deserves to be preserved in high quality in places other than YouTube! (Yes, as you probably know, there are lots of WLIiA videos on YouTube.)

Laura_Hall193 karma

No, Kelly is not related to Kevin Macleod. But she did used to play in a band called Private Life, that toured with and was produced by Eddie Van Halen.

The producers own all the rights to everything that was created on the show. In the past they haven't been interested in doing that, but you never know, you could send an email to the CW.

TheReasonableCamel137 karma

Hi Laura

1) What is your favorite memory from the show?

2) What can we expect from the rerelease of Whose Line is it Anyway?

Laura_Hall272 karma

My favorite memory was the Three Headed Broadway I mentioned above, where Drew sang a bunch of words at once. There was also the time when Wayne accidentally made a girl he was singing to skirt go up and kind of flash the audience. He was so embarrassed, and she was totally a great sport about it.

On the new shows, we'll have a new host, Aisha Tyler. They've also auditioned some new people for the "fourth chair" spot, and there will be some new guests as well. Linda and I have all sorts of new gear and ideas, so we're amped to go.

headwhop26123 karma

Wow, thanks for doing this AMA!

Did you ever have difficulty improvising for so long? I do blues jams in the area and after a while I begin to run out of my bag of tricks.

Laura_Hall168 karma

I know what you mean. But I think because we played in lots of different styles, each one had its own bag of tricks.

Derp_a_saurus121 karma

If they've been filmed yet, Who was your favorite guest star? If not, who are you looking most forward to having on with you all?

Laura_Hall266 karma

We haven't started taping the new ones yet, we start in a few weeks (and they'll start airing mid-July).

I don't know who all the guest stars will be, but I do know they've been talking to Keegan Michael Key, who I love and adore. I'd love to have him do the show.

In the old shows, Sid Caesar was my favorite, funny and smart and a perfect gentleman. I also love meeting Florence Henderson, who I grew up watching on The Brady Bunch.

spasticpoodle117 karma

  1. When you first heard about the show, did you think it was going to even make it past one season, or did you think it was going to become as big as it did?
  2. What was your favorite game from the show? (I liked "Props" personally...)

Laura_Hall163 karma

  1. Every season when we got picked up it was a surprise and a miracle to me. Not because I didn't think it was good, but just cause that's the nature of this business.

  2. Besides music games, Film Noir was my fav. I liked Moving Bodies too.

HeroOfOne117 karma

How many points have you gotten?

Laura_Hall280 karma

I have gotten some, but I've never added them up. And one time Drew was throwing around $100 bills, and I got one of those.

prplx106 karma

Do you have a "go to" key that you use more then others cause you know most actors on the show are comfortable in it? And inversely do you have some keys you avoid?

Laura_Hall184 karma

interesting question. There are certainly some keys for some singers that are better. But because they sing in lots of different styles they use their voices in lots of different ways, so different keys are good. hows that for a vague answer?

braintiac49 karma

Did you major in music in college? Where did you go if so? I'm a music education major, which is why I'm curious...

Laura_Hall86 karma

I did get a general music degree from Mundelein College in Chicago (which is now part of Loyola)

I learned how to do music improv at The Second City in Chicago listening to the great Fred Kaz, who basically invented the genre.

siegel_caww45 karma

How did you get into the world of Improv Musicianship?

Laura_Hall72 karma

When I was in college in Chicago I got a job waitressing at The Second City. I wasn't particularly interested in improv, I wanted to be in bands, write songs. But I got hooked. Fred Kaz played there, and he was a great mentor.

The summer before my senior year I got asked to take a demotion from being a waitress to go out with the touring company. My school allowed it to be called an internship, and that first year of touring I would go back to the hotel after our shows and do my homework. So the lesson is Stay in school, kids!

dannyboylee43 karma

I'd like to ask you about this weird little kids' show you did called Wheels on the Bus.

What was the story behind THAT?

Laura_Hall72 karma

It was my first chance to do any film/video scoring, and I jumped at the chance. Plus I got to have Roger Daltrey come to my home studio to record his tracks. It was wild!

AndySocks42 karma

Do you have a guilty musical pleasure?

Laura_Hall86 karma

I'm a big fan of the show Nashville (which Chip Esten is on, but he goes by his big boy name of Charles). That's sort of a guilty tv and musical pleasure

carcrazy021433 karma

Hi Laura, thanks for doing this!

Asking for my brother since he doesn't have an account, but he was wondering how you and Wayne worked together onstage (as if you guys had any hand signals or the like)?

Laura_Hall62 karma

Wayne was very good at telegraphing physically where he wanted to go, although we never worked out specific hand signals.

yellowbumpercars24 karma

I'm SO excited for Whose Line to start again!

  1. Are Ryan and Colin close in real life?

  2. How do you feel about the new host?

  3. Any tips for those that want to get into improv?

Thanks so much!

Laura_Hall37 karma

  1. Ryan and Colin have know each other for a long time, like maybe since high school. Yes, they're old pals, which is part of how they improvise so well together.

  2. I'm looking forward to working with her. I haven't met her yet.

  3. Go to lots of improv shows, take classes, and then before you're ready form your own improv group and play wherever and whenever you can

robotnewyork23 karma

I seem to remember you using a Roland XP-80, what other equipment did you use and was there anything interesting or unusual about the setup?

Laura_Hall51 karma

I think Linda has the Roland. I used a Korg i30 which is actually a rather cheapy keyboard that they don't make anymore. But it was easy to move around in quickly, which is essential. Also I use a Boss 440 drum machine, again for the same reason.

For the new shows Linda and I are upgrading all our gear, so we will be sounding better than ever.