Drew Allison Carey (born May 23, 1958) is an American actor, comedian, photographer, sports executive, and game show host. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and making a name for himself in stand-up comedy, Carey eventually gained popularity starring on his own sitcom, The Drew Carey Show, and serving as host on the U.S. version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, both of which aired on ABC.
Carey has appeared in several films, television series, music videos, a made-for-television film, and a computer game. He currently hosts the game show The Price Is Right and the improv comedy show Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza. He is interested in a variety of sports, has worked as a photographer at U.S. National Team soccer games, is a minority owner of the Major League Soccer team Seattle Sounders FC and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Carey is engaged and has written an autobiography detailing his early life and television career.Early life
Carey was the youngest of Lewis and Beulah Carey's three sons and raised in Parma, Ohio. When he was eight years old his father died from a brain tumor. According to his autobiography, he was born with six toes on his right foot and he played the cornet and trumpet in the marching band of James Ford Rhodes High School, from which he graduated in 1975.
He continued on to college at Kent State University (KSU) and was expelled twice for poor academic performance. He left KSU after three years, but not before becoming a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After leaving the university, Carey enlisted into the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1980 and served for six years. He relocated to Las Vegas for a few months in 1982, and for a short time worked as a bank teller and a waiter at Denny's.
In 1985, he began his comedy career by following up on a suggestion by David Lawrence (a disc jockey friend who had been paying Drew to write jokes for David's radio show in Cleveland) to go to the library and borrow books on how to write jokes. The following year, after winning an open-mic contest, he became MC at the Cleveland Comedy Club. He performed at multiple comedy clubs over the next few years in both Cleveland and Los Angeles. He was first brought to the national eye as a comedian when he competed in the 1988 Star Search. Carey was working as a stand-up comedian in 1991 when he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. His performance that night impressed Carson, who invited Carey to the couch next to his desk; this was considered a rare honor for any comedian. In that same year, Carey joined the 14th Annual Young Comedians Special on HBO and made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. In 1994, Carey wrote his own stand-up comedy special which aired on Showtime, entitled Drew Carey: Human Cartoon, for which he won a CableACE Award for Best Writing.
Following on the success of his early stand-up career, he subsequently appeared in a number of supporting roles on television shows, during which he developed the character of a hapless middle-class bachelor. In 1993, Carey had a small role in the film Coneheads as a taxi passenger. Turning his attention to television, in 1994, Carey co-starred with John Caponera in The Good Life, a short-lived sitcom that aired on NBC. After the show's cancellation, Carey joined up with writer Bruce Helford (who was also a writer for The Good Life), who gave Carey a job as a consultant for the television show Someone Like Me.
Main article: The Drew Carey ShowAfter their stint on Someone Like Me, Carey and Helford developed and produced the storyline for The Drew Carey Show. The sitcom revolved around a fictionalized version of Carey, as he took on the stresses of life and work with his group of childhood friends. The show premiered on September 13, 1995 on ABC. In his autobiography, Carey revealed his frustration with having to deal with censors and being unable to employ the off-color humor common in his stand-up routines. Carey initially earned $60,000 per episode in the first seasons, then renegotiated for $300,000. By the final season, he was earning $750,000 per episode. The show had high ratings for its first few seasons, but declining ratings and increasing production costs (around $3 million per episode) precipitated its cancellation. The program had a total of 233 episodes over its nine-year run and Carey was one of four actors to appear in every episode. The show starred (in order of episode appearances) Drew Carey, Diedrich Bader, Kathy Kinney, Ryan Stiles (all in every episode); Craig Ferguson (starring role in seasons 2-8 and guest appearances in 9); Christa Miller (seasons 1-7); and John Carroll Lynch (semi-regular from seasons 3/4-9).
Main article: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (U.S. TV series)While still starring in The Drew Carey Show, in 1998 Carey began hosting the American version of the improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. He would announce the improv guests, direct the games, and then would usually involve himself in the final game of the episode. The show ran for a total of 220 episodes until the show's cancellation in 2006. In 1998, the New York Friars' Club made Carey the newest inductee of the group's Comedy Central Roast. His friend Ryan Stiles (who costarred in The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway?) served as the roastmaster. Carey's income from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Drew Carey Show led to his inclusion on the Forbes list of highest-paid entertainers of 1998, at 24th with $45.5 million.
For the WB's 2004-2005 prime time schedule, Carey co-produced and starred in Drew Carey's Green Screen Show, a spin-off of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. It was canceled by the WB, but picked up shortly afterward by Comedy Central. The show's premise relied on the use of a green screen for all of the actors' improv interactions. Animation on the screen was inserted during post-production.
On November 18, 2010, the Game Show Network announced that Drew Carey would host a new improv show in primetime, called Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza. The show is filmed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and first aired on April 11, 2011. The show takes on the premise of Whose Line? and Drew Carey's Green Screen Show in that it features many of the same performers from both shows and they do improv based on audience-provided suggestions.
Carey was one of the founders of the Improv All-Stars, a group of eleven actors who perform in unscripted skits. The group joined Carey in all three of his improv shows, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Drew Carey's Green Screen Show, and Drew Carey's Improv-a-ganza and some members had major roles or guest starred on The Drew Carey Show. The Improv All-Stars travel on comedy tours, performing at comedy clubs throughout the United States