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Drew Carey, Improv Comedian and Host of 'The Price is Right'

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Drew Carey

Drew Carey on the set of 'The Price is Right'

Courtesy Getty Images

Drew Carey has parleyed his sense of humor and "everyman" image into a successful career in television and improv comedy. Here's a brief bio of the man who stepped in to fill Bob Barker's shoes on The Price is Right.

Full Name: Drew Allison Carey
Born: May 23, 1958
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Website: Drew From TV
Trademark: Dark-rimmed glasses

How Drew Carey Got His Start

Drew Carey didn't immediately fall into entertainment as a career. After a rough childhood (at the age of eight, he lost his father to a brain tumor), he attended Kent State University. This was followed by six years' worth of service with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Comedy came naturally to Carey, and by 1985 he was writing jokes for his friend David Lawrence (who has been a guest announcer on The Price is Right). Lawrence was a disc jockey at the time, and urged Carey to start writing and performing for himself. Drew Carey found much success in stand-up comedy and it was only a matter of time before he began appearing on television.

The Drew Carey Show

An appearance on The Tonight Show in 1991 was Carey's big television break, reinforced by host Johnny Carson's invitation to Carey to come sit with him and chat after Carey's performance. Soon Drew was appearing in small roles on established shows, such as Home Improvement and Dharma and Greg.

In 1995, his sitcom The Drew Carey Show premiered on ABC. By the second season the show was a huge favorite with audiences, and it ran through 2004.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

While The Drew Carey Show was at the height of its popularity, Carey took on a second show called Whose Line Is It Anyway? This one was an adaptation of a British show of the same name, which showcased improv comedians in a variety of sketches and games. Ryan Stiles, who was also amongst the stars of The Drew Carey Show, was a featured comedian on Whose Line, along with Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Jeff B. Davis, and Chip Esten.

Other comedians and special guests frequently joined the show, and it soon became a second big hit for Carey. This program led to several spin-offs both on the live circuit and on television, including Drew Carey's Green Screen Show.

Drew Carey: Game Show Host

In 2003, Drew Carey became the host of an odd single-episode game show called Pepsi Play for a Billion. The program had numerous TV personalities participating, as it was intended to be both a game show and a preview of the WE network's upcoming show schedule. Contestant Richard Bay won $1 million on the show.

Four years later CBS tapped Carey to host their new game show, Power of 10. This game started in the summer of 2007, and on the very first episode contestant Jamie Sadler walked away with a million dollar prize.

At the same time, CBS was searching for a replacement for long-time Price is Right host Bob Barker. Barker had announced his retirement, and auditions were being held for a new host. While rumors swirled over who would ultimately take over the show, the network announced that Drew Carey was to become the new host.

The Price is Right

Carey's first episode of The Price is Right aired in October, 2007. His initial reception by fans was not good, likely because they were comparing him to Bob Barker rather than giving him the chance to host on his own merit. Carey has persevered and made the show his own, all the while leaving the main focus on the contestants and the games themselves.

Many fans have since come around, and Drew Carey has gained acceptance along the way.

Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza

In January 2011, GSN announced a new original program titled Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza. The show taped episodes in front of live audiences in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, with a television premiere date of March 28, 2011.

Joining Carey onstage for the half-hour improv show are several of his Whose Line Is It Anyway? co-stars, as well as Kathy Kinney from The Drew Carey Show and Jonathan Mangum from Let's Make a Deal. Rich Fields, former announcer for The Price is Right, is on-hand for voice work.

Fast Facts

  • Drew Carey is the only game show host to award a million dollar prize on three different game shows. In addition to Pepsi Play for a Billion and The Power of Ten, he awarded three contestants a million dollars on the Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular, a prime time edition of the show which ran for six episodes in 2008.

  • In 2010, Carey lost a substantial amount of weight and completely changed his appearance. He lost about 90 pounds through a strict change in his diet and the addition of regular exercise.

  • Carey's autobiography, Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined, was released in 1997. It is surprisingly frank and covers many of his childhood struggles as well as his route to success.

  • Drew is engaged to Nicole Jaracz, who has a young son named Connor. Connor has appeared a few times on The Price is Right along with Carey.

  • He has played Who Wants to Be a Millionaire twice, earning a combined $532,000 in prize money, which was donated to the Ohio Library Foundation.

Drew Carey Quotes

Regarding The Price is Right: "This is a really smart show; that's why I like coming to this show, and a lot of smart people watch this show. It's really like Carl Jung. It's like all that Joseph Campbell myth stuff. It's the strangers plucked from obscurity and they have to go through trials to get to their reward, and it's any old average person, and that's why everybody watching zones on somebody they relate to for some reason. He reminds me of a buddy of mine, he reminds me of me, whatever it is. And that's who you root for all the way through to the showcase." – Reason TV

"Reality shows always look for the worst people. If you and I were in a reality show, they would say, ‘Hey, Jeanne, Drew has been saying some stuff about you, so I want you to confront him with it, when you go back into the kitchen.’ And that’s how they get people to fight and to act the worst. That kind of stuff has to stop. People have to stop making that the focal point of their lives. The worst in people shouldn’t be entertainment. The best of people is what you should ask for." – Parade Magazine

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