riot interview rove mcmanus meryl hathaway jessica mckenna fox 'Riot' host Rove McManus and cast explain their skewed game show

“Riot” may just be the oddest game show to air on television recently. The program takes the silly improv of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and mixes that with challenges last seen on “Double Dare” and throws in comedian guest stars like Jason Alexander and Cheryl Hines (both appearing on the May 27 episode).

Host Rove McManus and cast members Rob Gleeson, Meryl Hathaway, Jessica McKenna and Brian Palermo tried to explain how all of this works when Zap2it visited the set.

“It’s like trying to herd cats a little bit, or being in charge of a kindergarten or something,” McManus says of his hosting duties. “It’s like being with children who have had way too much sugar, and I’m trying to tell them it’s nap time. No, in many ways, I’m the one who gave them the sugar.”

Cast member Gleeson agrees. “It’s very textbook improv games that are sort of turned on their heads — or at 22 degrees” — a reference to the show’s 22-degree-inclined stage. Palermo adds, “It’s just all the physicality of it — doing that 22-degree stage and you’re slipping on fake blood and pudding. It’s challenging to deal with the physicality while you’re trying to make some semblance of sense.”

How does everyone keep up the energy throughout the taping of the show? You wouldn’t think it would be easy, but everyone involved has their secrets. “I like to dance in between,” Hathaway says. “Bouncing around actually seems to kind of help — you keep yourself in an athletic kind of place and you’re ready to go anywhere.”

Her castmate, McKenna points out that keeping the energy at sustainable levels is important too. “Pacing yourself — and the games yourself, when you’re actually in them aren’t as tiring because you have the adrenaline,” she says. “And thankfully we have that live audience. I think if we were just filming this on a set, it would be a lot harder, because that live energy is fueling us, and we’re trying to make them laugh harder.”

McManus — who doesn’t have to go quite as crazy regularly — was quick to agree. “It’s very physical — it’s a great workout. I think we should turn this into a workout DVD,” he says. “The ‘Riot’ home game would be an interesting thing. Spell out letters on the floor with friends in your house! Or not — grab your neighbors and act out a scene in the dark! Some say creepy, I say fun!”

“Riot” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

Posted by:Laurel Brown