Greg Proops is no stranger to us here as he prepares to notch his fifth pass through in as many years.

But then what more or less could you expect from the self-described Smartest Man in the World?

Who better to figure out a way to get back to B-N on an almost annual basis, be it either via his membership in the "Whose Live Anyway?" collective or just going it solo, Smartest Man-style.

For those counting, Proops has done just one of those (solo shows), and four with the "Whose Live?" crew.

Which is the case this time as Proops, Ryan Stiles, Joel Murray and Jeff B. Davis amass on the stage of Illinois State University's Braden Auditorium at 8 p.m. Saturday for a family weekend show.

Proops recently, and smartly, submitted to a GO! Q&A session, improvised from scratch for our reading pleasure.

GO!: This is your fifth time through Bloomington-Normal in five years ... four with the "Whose Live" crew and once going solo. Do you like us, really like us ... and, far as you can tell, vice versa?

GP: The audience is always so nice and enthusiastic. But I stay for the white gravy.

GO!: If you were buying a ticket, would you rather see you alone ... or with the gang?

GP: I would pay to see 'Whose Live' and sneak into my show.

GO!: In a past interview (for the solo show), you referred to Messrs. Mochrie, Stiles, etc., as "dead weight," with tongue presumably in cheek. But it was a phoner, so we can't say for sure. Anyway ... dead weight, really? Not even alive weight?

GP: When you are as attractive as I am having others around who can’t compete is a terrible drain on the psyche.

GO!: Speaking of added weight, is there a burden involved in being The Smartest Man in the World on such a regularly scheduled basis? (Editor's note: per his long-running "Proopcast" recorded live before an audience and accessible at

GP: Not at all. It is a once a week affair so I can recharge.

GO!: Smartest or no, is there anything that completely dumbfounds you about the world we're living in today, such as it is?

GP: That people support Mango Mussolini. He doesn’t have a pet. He has no sense of humor. He never mentions his young son. He doesn’t seem to have empathy. He never does anything constructive.

When has a child smiled or a woman been happy because of something he did? He argues with war widows. Just a vain, incurious, disrespectful, lazy racist.

GO!: Since, ahem, we doubt you'll be doing one from the White House anytime soon, just curious: What's the most unusual location the Proopcast has been transmitted from ... at sea, in the air, on terra firma or (we can wish can't we?) that galaxy, far, far way? (Editor's note: this, per Proops' extensive work in the "Star Wars" franchise, including playing Fode in "The Phantom Menace.")

GP: Upstairs at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, gazing at the Seine and Notre Dame. On a cruise ship off St. Maarten. In an Egyptian-themed comedy club whilst inebriated. Underneath a bookstore in Antwerp. On a lawn in Dublin in brightest afternoon.

We also played a dire rock club in Helsinki and the band would not speak to me, knobs.

GO!: You're a West Coast guy, and we're not ... when you venture into darkest, deepest, arms-bearing Midwest, do you have to readjust your antennae? Or do you wait for us to do it to our own? 

GP: I love the heartland. You throw explosives into lakes for fun. You shop at giant stores for no reason. You never serve unbuttered toast. You actually buy stuff at Cracker Barrel. It is kooky.

GO!: Let's face it, you're going to be on stage in a town that proudly calls itself Normal (your past appearances have been in its sister city, Bloomington). Is that something to live up, or down, to? 

GP: Beware, Normal is anything but. Bloomington is very bloomy it turns out.

GO!: Among your "Whose Line/Live" peers, who do you feel the closest kinship with, sensibility-wise, and why so?

GP: Aisha Tyler ... as we are both tall and great-looking.

GO!: Who is the greatest improviser in the history of the world, and why ... present company excluded?

GP: Jonathan Winters. He didn’t need a group.

GO!: For whatever reason, the plug has to be pulled on the Proops Film Club (Editor's note: another staple offering at But it gets to go out in a blaze of b/w glory with your 10 greatest ProopFilms of all time ... what would they be? (Sorry, we're classic film junkies here, and our inquiring minds really wants to know!)

GP: "Casablanca." "The 400 Blows." "The Lives of Others." "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid." "Clueless." "The Celebration." "What’s Up, Doc?" "The Three Musketeers" (1974 Richard Lester version). "Some Like It Hot." "Out of the Past."

GO!: Last, but not least: If this were 2027, and you were doing a Proopcast on the world of 10 years before, how would you recall it? (Could you have made any of this stuff up in a show, in other words?)

GP: We let misogyny and greed elect an unhinged Russian-owned bully and white people were cool with it.


Load comments