COLUMBUS UNDERGROUND (OHIO) -- Proops began his career performing stand-up while attending the College of San Mateo and San Francisco State University in the latter part of the 1970s, eventually delving into improv as a member of the ensemble Faultline. He spent the next decade performing improv and stand-up professionally before being invited to join the cast of the U.K. version of Whose Line.
“Well, I was going to State and I’d been doing stand-up, but I’d never heard of improv. I’d heard of making stuff up as a stand-up, but I’d never heard of just … making stuff up. So, they had a show at the Cantina with an improv group called Faultline up near my dormitory, and I went over and watched it,” Proops says. “They had an audience spot, and they invited someone from the audience to do a bit with them, and so I thought, ‘Well, I can do that.’ And I went back the next week and sat in the front row and jumped up when they did the audience spot.
“And the next day, I was playing pinball, and this will give you an idea of how long ago this was since we played pinball, in the Student Union, and he said, ‘Do you want to be in my group?’ And I said, ‘Yeah!’” Proops adds. “So, that was 1979. That’s where I learned — I didn’t go to The Groundlings, or anything like that, or The Second City. I learned from the other guys in the improv group, and the girls, at San Francisco State. And we did a regular once-a-week gig at the Cantina with a built-in audience of students.
“There’s nothing that replaces stage time, and so I spent my first two years improvising with, you know, loads of stage time.”