Family & Companions
Canadian-American actor and comic Ryan Stiles' exceptional gifts at improvisation led to a long-standing gig as performer on both the British and American versions of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (Channel 4, 1988-1999; ABC/ABC Family/The CW, 1999-2007, 2013- ) and co-star on "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004). Born Ryan Lee Stiles in Seattle, Washington, he was the youngest of five children by Canadian parents who relocated the family to Vancouver, British Columbia when Stiles was 10 years of age. A solid student, but with a laissez-faire attitude towards school, Stiles found a creative outlet in comedy and actually dropped out of high school shortly before graduation in order to pursue a career as a stand-up comic. He worked the Vancouver club circuit before joining the Second City troupe in Toronto, which in turn led to guest roles on Canadian television series. His big break came in 1988 when he was invited to perform on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (BBC Radio 4, 1988), an improvisational series which challenged its comic talent to create skits, characters and musical numbers based on suggestions from panelists. The program moved to television for Channel 4 that same year, with Stiles joining the cast as a regular player in its second season. He would become the show's longest-running performer, appearing in 76 of its 136 episodes, while also balancing regular work on television in the United States and Canada as a guest star on series like "The John Larroquette Show" (NBC, 1993-96) and the occasional feature, including "Hot Shots!" (1991). But it was Stiles' improvisational work that drew the attention of American comedian Drew Carey; a fan of the British series, he tapped Stiles to co-star on his sitcom, "The Drew Carey Show," as Lewis Kiniski, an eccentric sidekick to Carey's fictionalized version of himself. Though brilliant - Kiniski was alleged to have been a scientist at one point - he avoided work and responsibility, preferring instead to indulge in absurd schemes with Carey's other friend, Oswald (Diedrich Bader). While working on the series, Stiles and Carey also successfully brought "Whose Line Is It Anyway" to American television and served as both producers and on-air performers during its lengthy network runs on ABC and ABC Family from 1998 to 2007. Stiles' seemingly effortless improvisational skills not only earned him a 2002 Emmy nomination for his work on "Line," but also led to producing opportunities on other improv series, like the short-lived "Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza" (Game Show Network, 2011) and a revived version of "Line" for The CW in 2013, for which he also appeared as a regular performer.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Moved with family from Seattle to Vancouver
Had early TV gig on episode of "Stir Crazy" (CBS)
Joined Second City troupe in Toronto
Made feature film debut in the short film "Rainbow War"
Moved to Los Angeles to appear in newly-formed Second City troupe
Began making recurring appearances on the British improv series "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (aired in USA on Comedy Central)
Had small role in "Hot Shots"
Moved to L.A.
Appeared in a memorable Nike TV commercial, directed by Joe Pytka, in which he was alone in an empty baseball stadium doing the wave
Featured as Lewis on "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC)