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Drew Carey discusses his new GSN improv show and more

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The Price Is Right host Drew Carey returns to Las Vegas to host his new soon-to-be-televised GSN show.

Comedian, actor and Price Is Right host Drew Carey returns to Las Vegas to host Drew Carey’s Improv-a-Ganza, which will be filmed by the Game Show Network for a TV series set to air in March.

Robin Leach sends his regards and is sad that he wasn’t able to talk with you today, so I’m his substitute.

Robin’s a very nice guy. I met him at Wayne Newton’s thing last year at the Tropicana. That was a bittersweet evening. I was crying the entire show. It was called Once Before I Go, right? I’d been on USO tours with him. He’s a genuine guy, and I have nothing but warm feelings for him. There’s video of younger Wayne, and then you realize that this is probably his last time onstage, his last show. It’s weird to think of Mr. Las Vegas not having a show -- in Las Vegas!

Well, speaking of Las Vegas shows, The Improv-a-Ganza is a new endeavor, correct? What’s the premise of the show?

Calendar

Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza
January 13-16, 20-22; February 3-6
7:30 and 9 p.m.
$48-$77
MGM's Hollywood Theatre, 891-1111

It’s the same improv show we do every year during Super Bowl weekend, except this time it’s being taped for a TV show on GSN. It’s the crew, many from The Drew Carey Show, and me bringing improv back to TV. … It’s not a game show, it’s an improv show, but GSN doesn’t care.

What can audiences expect?

Our live improv, but a little cleaner! There’s not a lot of alteration. Television is great, but the live experience is always better. When you’re in the room and see creativity -- that spark of creativity -- feeling it live in front of you is magical. Nothing is pre-planned -- it’s all made up.

How long have you been in improv?

Ever since I met Ryan Stiles on The Drew Carey Show. [Our improv team] taught me everything I know. I used to be awful, but now I consider myself pretty good. My cast members and friends are great. I’m the worst of the group.

How have you improved over the years?

Experience. Learning by watching and being with the best guys. I ask questions, and they give me notes. “Here’s how to do this better.” It’s like taking a master class. It’s like you as a writer having the opportunity to learn from Ernest Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson. You’re not going to pass that up.

Are you on a break from The Price Is Right to be able to do this Las Vegas gig?

No, I’ll be driving back and forth. Driving! I figured that it costs me only an hour to drive after being searched and treated like a criminal at the airports. Driving is more relaxing. I try to avoid flying when I can.

Would you be interested in a Las Vegas residency?

I think a semi-residency, a regular show, would be great, just not every weekend. This MGM show is perfect right now. It’s a lot of fun, and it highlights everything I’m good at—improv comedy and hosting game shows!

Any interest in returning to a regular sitcom?

No! It’s a lot of work! I haven’t been calling what I do now work in years. The Drew Carey Show was a lot of waiting for the result. Weeks or months later, but the results are immediate on The Price Is Right and in improv! Joke, funny, done! Standup comedy is all about immediate gratification. I would love to do movies, though, but not a sitcom. The show was great, and I’m appreciative of that success.

What about what half of Hollywood is doing now guest starring on Glee?

Yes! Do you know anybody? Put a bug in somebody’s ear. It’s a different show, just like Community and Modern Family, all of which are great. Sitcoms are different now, a different experience.

Via IMDb, I saw a listing for Mr. Vegas All-Night Party Starring Drew Carey, a TV movie from 1997. Was that filmed here?

Yes, and it wasn’t that great! That was not one of my proudest moments. It was a busy time -- I had the sitcom and my book. It had germs of good ideas. I dropped the ball on that one.

What do you like to do when you’re in Las Vegas?

I like to read. Sure, I do a little gambling and have a drink, and Las Vegas has a lot of good restaurants. But I like to sit around and read and relax. I’m out of town. On vacation! I like to go shopping at the mall.

You participated in the No H8 Campaign and the PSAs of “It Gets Better.” Why did you take part?

It’s important to stand up against bullying. It was an honor to be asked and to spread the love-your-neighbor message. It’s important for society to not tolerate bullying for any reason, whether it’s because you have red hair, for your clothes, because you’re gay, you’re too small, too big. We need to be accepting and kind to everybody. It’s a very important message for our schools.

It does get better. High school is not the best years of your lives, when you’re carefree and young. It sucks! It does get better out of high school -- in your 30s, when you have some money. After high school, being good-looking and great at sports doesn’t matter anymore, unless you’re an exception like Cam Newton. Being well read, smart and artistic, that pays off as an adult. There’s no structure, and you make your own life.

No H8 is a really great idea, and it is an honor to be a part of it.

Can I ask you about your weight loss? More than 80 pounds? You’re a new man, and it’s changed your life how?

Dramatically! I exercise a lot more, and I have no more diabetic symptoms. I wake up from sleep feeling well and have more energy during the day. I’m not perfect, but I feel 90 perfect. I gained weight over the holidays with three weeks off and nothing to do, but I will lose it.

Before, my typical day was steak, eggs and hash browns for breakfast, a candy bar for a snack, a burger for lunch, pasta and chicken with extra cream sauce for dinner and then a late-night pizza and a bag of Doritos. That was in a day! We had Pepsi backstage on ice, so I’d have four to five Pepsi’s a day.

Now it’s water all day long and maybe a cup of coffee once a month. People ask me, “How did you do it?” They’re usually disappointed to hear the answer. Exercise! Green vegetables. Exercising is not a chore. I feel like a man again after exercising! I’m sweating, tired, exhausted, but I did it. I’ve accomplished something running in place. I feel like I can conquer the world! The great thing about good health is that you can’t buy it, you can earn it.

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Don was born in Laos and grew up in Montana. He was Helena High's yearbook and newspaper editor and, after ...

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