Woody Allen has New York. The Pope has the Vatican. Drew Carey has Cleveland. And never has he forgotten where he came from, even making his hometown a central character for nine seasons in his ABC hit series “The Drew Carey Show." The public perception of Cleveland, with its losing sports teams and air of rejection, funneled into Drew’s own self-deprecating comedic persona. His Everyman, with his black-rimmed glasses and one suit, struck a cord not only with Clevelanders but with audiences around the country. And the audiences continue to grow.
It all started in the Old Brooklyn section of Cleveland in 1958, where Drew was born and raised. Not until older brothers and friends encouraged Drew to try telling jokes did he find he possessed some serious comedic magic. Still, Drew was a long way off from Hollywood, an eventual stroll on the Walk of Fame, and a Bobblehead. He served as a reservist in the Marines for six years in the 80s while bouncing around restaurant jobs in Cleveland. In 1986, an open mic night brought him a gig as emcee at the Cleveland Comedy Club. With an appearance on “Star Search” in 1988, Drew developed his stand-up routine before striking gold with Johnny Carson one night in 1991. With the rare honor of getting an invitation over to Johnny’s couch, it was on for Drew.
While juggling acting, writing, and directing responsibilities on “The Drew Carey Show,” Drew hosted “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” for 215 episodes. And if that wasn’t enough, he also found time to write his book “Dirty Jokes and Beer,” appear in wrestling’s Royal Rumble in 2001, develop his own improvisation troupe, champion his beloved Cleveland sports teams, donate $500,000 to Ohio libraries from his turn on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?,” snag a Hollywood Star in 2003 and, oh yeah, serve as press photographer for U.S. National Team soccer games.
Currently, Drew has two host gigs on his plate: CBS’ prime time “Power of 10,” and the successor to venerable Bob Barker as host of daytime TV’s longest running game show “The Price Is Right.” Despite his successes, Drew remains intent on staying the down-to-earth guy who his mother Beulah raised in Old Brooklyn. And with that attitude, audiences will no doubt continue to embrace the comic talent for what he is: a reflection of ourselves.
Drew on the Web
The go-to database to find out about all of Drew’s projects and personal anecdotes.
Resource for the latest Drew news, TV listings, and message board.
Tons of Drew-related links within the Buddy TV database.
Excellent, in-depth biography including rare photo of Drew in his Marine uniform.
Cleveland honors its favorite son.
Solid site for tidbits on Drew’s life and career.
Great collection of classic Drew one-liners.
Extensive interview with Drew.
Drew on the Screen
In addition to his own shows, Drew has appeared as a guest in many sitcoms: starting with “The Torkelson’s” to “Home Improvement,” “Ellen,” a dramatic turn in “Lois & Clark,” a voice on “King of the Hill,” and as Geppetto in a 2000 made-for-TV “Pinocchio” movie. He also voiced Crank in 2005’s “Robots.” You can always find him making the consistent appearances on late night. Drew also penned a candid and funny autobiography, “Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined.”
The talk is around CBS’ choice to have Drew handle two game shows for the network: prime time’s “Power of 10” (the youngest game show on TV), and daytime’s “The Price Is Right” (TV’s oldest game show). Given his success with “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and his ease with the emcee role (going back to his Cleveland Comedy Club days), chances are both will be hits.
From the Mouth of Drew
On the teen years:
“In high school, I was in the marching band, so you know the babes were all over me.”
On his image:
“I see my face in the mirror and go, ‘I’m a Halloween costume? That’s what they think of me?’”
“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”