Ryan Stiles

Ryan Stiles

Stiles in November 2008
Birth name Ryan Lee Stiles
Born (1959-04-22) April 22, 1959
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Medium Stand up, television, film
Genres Improvisational comedy
Spouse Patricia McDonald (1988–present)
Children Sam, Mackenzie and Claire
Notable works and roles British and American versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Lewis Kiniski on The Drew Carey Show
Herb Melnick on Two and a Half Men

Ryan Lee Stiles (born April 22, 1959) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, director, and voice actor whose work is often associated with improvisational comedy. He is best known for his career and co-production work on the American and British versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and the role of Lewis Kiniski on The Drew Carey Show. He played Herb Melnick on the CBS comedy Two and a Half Men and was a performer on the show Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza.

Early life and career

The youngest of five children, Ryan Stiles was born in Seattle, Washington, to Canadian parents, Irene and Sonny Stiles. He grew up with his mother, a homemaker, and his father, a supervisor at a Vancouver-based Canadian fish processing plant. When he was 10, his family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. Ryan Stiles attended R.C. Palmer Junior Secondary School and Richmond Senior Secondary in Richmond, British Columbia.[1] Although he was a good student, Stiles has admitted that "being a high-school senior gave [him] too much freedom." He got so carried away with his flexible schedule that at age 17, he quit school a few months shy of graduation.

In spite of his parents' objections, he was able to support himself doing stand-up routines at clubs near his home in Vancouver. He helped Rich Elwood start Punchlines Comedy Club. During this time he was the head writer of The Don Harron Show on CTV and the host of Comedy College on CBC. Ryan was a regular improv performer with the Vancouver Theatresports League and Punchline's "No Name Player" before joining the Second City comedy ensemble at Expo 86. He continued with Second City in Toronto and later in Los Angeles.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Drew Carey Show

By 1989, Stiles had gained the attention of the producers of the British improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Stiles was a regular on the show until its end in 1998. His performance on the program earned him both critical praise and a devoted fan following in the United Kingdom.

In 1995, Stiles was asked by American comic Drew Carey to be a regular on his comedy The Drew Carey Show. Stiles played Drew's erudite but underachieving best friend, Lewis Kiniski.

In 1998, Carey successfully lobbied ABC to get an American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? produced. Following the final season of the British version in 1998, the American version premiered, with both Stiles and Carey credited as executive producers. Stiles and Colin Mochrie were the only two performers to appear in every episode of the US version, although Wayne Brady also became a regular near the beginning of the second season. The series was produced until 2006. Stiles received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 2002 for his work on the show.

Though he never appeared in the series, Stiles (along with Kaitlin Olson) performed in the taping of the unaired pilot episode of Drew Carey's Green Screen Show, which involved improv games similar to Whose Line? games played in front of a massive green screen. Animation was later added to the improv footage.

Stiles returned as performer and executive producer for the revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the summer of 2013.[2]

Other television and film work

Stiles appeared in the 1991 film Hot Shots! as Mailman Farnham, and also starred in the 1993 sequel Hot Shots! Part Deux, as marine Rabinowitz.

Stiles portrayed recurring character Dr. Herb Melnick on Two and a Half Men from 2004 until the show's end in 2015. Stiles also made short guest appearances on Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Mad TV, and Dharma & Greg. In July 2008, he was a guest star on Reno 911! as Sergeant Clift, an acting coach.

During the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, Stiles appeared in several commercials for Nike, hanging out in an empty ballpark, doing things such as playing the organ and attempting to do the wave alone. The commercials ended with the line: "Play ball. Please."

In 2005, Stiles appeared in the mockumentary Conker: Celebrity Squirrel produced for the promotion of the Xbox video game Conker: Live & Reloaded.[3] This role led to gamers voting to induct him into the 2015 class of the DK Vine Hall of Fame.[4]

Charity work

Stiles has been a frequent fund raiser for children with burn injuries, raising over $500,000 for the Burned Children Recovery Center since 2009, helping the foundation to recover from the "economy crash of 2008."[5]

Personal life

In 1981, Stiles met Patricia McDonald at Punchlines where she was a waitress. They married in 1988. They have three children: Sam, Mackenzie, and Claire.[6] When not working in Hollywood, he lives at his home on Lake Samish, outside Bellingham, Washington,[7] where he has opened the Upfront Theatre, a small theatre dedicated to live improv comedy.[8] Stiles holds dual American-Canadian citizenship.

Stiles once lived in a house previously owned by Liberace in Sherman Oaks, California, but he sold it.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Rainbow War
1991 Hot Shots! 'Mailman' Farnham
1993 Hot Shots! Part Deux Rabinowitz
1997 Courting Courtney Chad Gross
2003 Nobody Knows Anything Harold uncredited
2006 Extra, TheThe Extra Clyde
2009 Astro Boy Mr. Mustachio voice
2011 Spooky Buddies Hoot voice
2012 Treasure Buddies Slither voice
Notable Television Roles
Year Title Role Notes
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Himself 369 episodes
1995–2004 Drew Carey Show, TheThe Drew Carey Show Lewis Kiniski Main role
2001 Dharma & Greg Abraham Lincoln guest role "Dutch Treat"
2004–2015 Two and a Half Men Dr. Herb Melnick Recurring role, Seasons 2 & 4–10 & 12
2008 Reno 911! Acting coach Season 5 Episode 15
2011 Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza Himself recurring performer
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Nike Organ Player commercials pleading for the end of the 94/95 MLB strike
1998 KFC "Famous Actor" commercial for New Hot 'N' Spicy Chicken
1998 Kwik Save Customer commercial for Kwik Save Hotline
2001 Kinko's "Kenny" various
2004 Progressive Automotive Insurance Himself various
2005 Pizza Hut Himself various
2007 Playskool professional various
2011 Zaxby's Himself Birthday cake milkshake


  1. http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=064da7f9-94dc-4234-98f2-48acd2c97426
  2. Ng, Philiana (March 1, 2013). "'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' Being Revived by The CW". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  3. Conker: Celebrity Squirrel. 9 November 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2015 via YouTube.
  4. DK Vine Hall of Fame 2015 (Part Five). 10 August 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015 via YouTube.
  5. "Burned Children Recovery Foundation". Burned Children Recovery Foundation. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  6. Spalding, Derek (May 8, 2008). "Iconic actor likes to stay close to home". Nanaimo Daily News. CanWest. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  7. Bryan, Saint (2006-03-24). "Ryan Stiles, back home again". Evening Magazine. Seattle: KING-TV. Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  8. Chant, Ian (June 2006). "Shooting From the Hip — Upfront Theatre Improv mixes it up". Bellingham, Washington: What's Up magazine. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  9. "Ryan Stiles". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
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