Who is Ryan Stiles?
Ryan Lee Stiles is an American-born Canadian comedian, actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. He has gained popularity for his improvisational comedy and his tenure on the American and British versions of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?. As an actor, he has delivered memorable performances as Lewis Kiniski in the ABC sitcom ‘The Drew Carey Show’, Herb Melnick in the CBS sitcom 'Two and a Half Men', Dominic "Mailman" Farnham in the spoof comedy ‘Hot Shots!’, and Rabinowitz in ‘Hot Shots! Part Deux’. He also regularly performed on GSN’s improvisational comedy television program ‘Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza’. Originally from the US state of Washington, Stiles moved to Canada, the native country of his parents, with his family when he was 10 years old. He never graduated high school and began working as a stand-up comedian at clubs in Vancouver when he was still a teenager. He later left stand-up comedy to do improv work and became part of the Second City comedy ensemble at Expo 86. Over the years, Stiles has brought his unique brand of comedy to a number of commercial campaigns. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ in 2002.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on April 22, 1959, in Seattle, Washington, Ryan Stiles is the youngest of five children of Irene and Sonny Stiles. His father worked as a supervisor at a Vancouver-based Canadian fish processing plant, while his mother was a homemaker. When he was 10 years old, he relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia. He grew up there with his brother Robert and his other three siblings.
Ryan Stiles studied at R.C. Palmer Junior Secondary School and Richmond Senior Secondary School. He was apparently a good student but his new-found freedom as a high-school senior resulted in some life-altering decisions. He dropped out of school a few months before graduation and started doing stand-up routines at clubs in Vancouver.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Ryan Stiles found some success as a stand-up comedian. With his help, Rich Elwood was able to set up the Punchlines Comedy Club. During this period, Ryan Stiles served as the head writer on CTV’s ‘The Don Harron Show’ and hosted CBC’s ‘Comedy College’.
Stiles eventually left stand-up comedy for improv comedy and started performing with the Vancouver Theatre sports League and Punchline's "No Name Player". Later, he became a member of the Second City comedy ensemble at Expo 86 and kept on performing with them in Toronto and Los Angeles.
By 1989, Stiles had garnered international attention and was cast in the British improvisational comedy show ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’. He continued to appear on the show until its conclusion in 1998.
Stiles and Drew Carey had been working together in ‘The Drew Carey Show’. After Carey convinced ABC in 1998 to make an American version of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’, Stiles became one of its regular cast members, along with Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady. Carey served as the host. The US version ran on ABC from 1998 to 2007.
In 2013, the show was brought back by The CW, with Stiles, Mochrie, and Brady returning as regular cast members and Aisha Tyler replacing Carey as the host. The revival is currently airing its seventh (15th overall) season.
In 2011, Stiles and Carey collaborated together on another improvisational comedy television program, GSN’s ‘Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza’.
Ryan Stiles made his acting debut in 1985 in an episode of CBC’s comedy-drama series ‘The Beachcombers’. That year, he also appeared in the short film ‘’Rainbow War"’. He then worked in the 1988 telefilm ‘110 Lombard’.
Subsequently, he guest-starred in some TV shows before landing the role of Dominic "Mailman" Farnham in ‘Hot Shots!’ in 1991. This was the first time he worked with Charlie Sheen. Stiles portrayed a character named Rabinowitz in the film’s 1993 sequel, ‘Hot Shots! Part Deux’.
From 1995 to 2004, he played Lewis Kiniski in the ABC sitcom ‘The Drew Carey Show’. The show was the beginning of an enduring professional and personal relationship between Stiles and Carey, who would collaborate on several projects in the ensuing years.
Stiles portrayed the recurring role of Dr. Herb Melnick in Sheen’s CBS sitcom ‘Two and a Half Men’ (2004-15). He has also been featured in a number of commercials for brands like Nike (1994), KFC (1998), Pizza Hut (2005), and Zaxby’s (2011).
Behind the Camera
Ryan Stiles was an executive producer on ABC’s ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’. He also served as a producer on several episodes of ‘Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza’. In 2009, he co-created and co-wrote the telefilm ‘Memory Lanes’ with Sean Masterson. In 2013, he wrote and directed the improvised talk show ‘Bellingham T'Nite’.
Family & Personal Life
Ryan Stiles and his future wife, Patricia McDonald, met at Punchlines in 1981. At the time, she was working there as a waitress. They exchanged wedding vows in 1988 and have three children together: daughters Mackenzie and Claire, and son Sam.
Stiles presently resides on Lake Samish, outside Bellingham, Washington, where he has set up the Upfront Theatre, a small theatre focused on live improv comedy. Since 2009, he has been affiliated with the Burned Children Recovery Center as a fundraiser.