Fortunately, “Trust Us With Your Life” comes from the creators of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” so they — and ABC — have nobody to sue but themselves. Because frankly, there’s barely a dime’s worth of difference between that earlier improv series and this one, right down to the talent, other than replacing Drew Carey with Fred Willard as host. Once again, the loony group conjures some witty moments, but the tiny conceptual wrinkle differentiating these half-hours — which ABC will air back to back — tends to yield diminishing returns.
One device, essentially, separates “Your Life” from “Whose Line”: Celebrities appear alongside Willard, recounting giddy moments from their past. Those sequences are then recreated, broadly, by the likes of Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady — familiar “Whose Line” stalwarts — at one point incorporating the guest in the improvised shenanigans.
The star talent, however, is generally of the sub-“Celebrity Apprentice” variety — billionaire Mark Cuban, tennis star Serena Williams, Jack and Kelly Osbourne — and the situations they are coaxed to detail prove, unsurprisingly, wacky, the better to allow (in one case) Brady to try smooching an uncomfortable Cuban, or the younger Osbournes to reenact one of their fights.
The one visually inspired bit involves a segment where the improv wizards lay on the ground and are shot from above, This allows them to look like they’re standing, while creating all sorts of gravity-defying sight gags, which are pretty difficult to resist chuckling at.
Still, the improv genre remains a comedic form that caters to the least-demanding jokes possible — almost by necessity, considering the gags have to be dreamed up on the fly. And it’s no slight on the featured performers (who are among the genre’s most gifted practitioners around) to say even the best improvised routines aren’t worthy of more than being low-cost filler.
Of course, that’s precisely what “Trust Us With Your Life” is — literally ABC’s way of injecting a little cheap humor into its summer lineup.
Hey, it’s July, so no harm done. Like any tired shtick, though, it’s hard to get too excited about a network recycling the same old “Line.”