BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Lying is never a good thing unless you are a participant in the new comedy series “Would I Lie To You?” slated to launch at 8:30 p.m. April 9 on the CW. The new Saturday competition series – based on the British production of the same name – pits two groups of celebrities against each other. The trick is to guess who is telling a lie and who is sticking to the truth.
The show is hosted by Aasif Mandvi. That may sound like a lie as he is better known for his work on the deeply dramatic supernatural series “Evil.” But the truth is Mandvi is an actor, writer and comedian who was such a huge fan of the British show he pushed to get an American version made.
As for finding good liars to be on the show, another big truth is that a background in doing improvisational comedy helps but is not a necessity.
“It was just a matter of finding people who we thought were funny or interesting or just good storytellers,” Mandvi says. “We have comedians and actors but also people who are not in entertainment. It is really about people who can tell a good story and make it believable.”
This season’s cast of celebrity guests includes: Brooke Shields (“Jane The Virgin”); talk show host Amber Ruffin (“The Amber Ruffin Show”); singer Laura Benanti (“Gossip Girl”); comedian Michael Ian Black (“Wet Hot American Summer”); actor Andrea Martin (“Evil”); Julie Klausner (“Difficult People”); Jordan Klepper (“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”); Adam Pally (“Happy Endings”); Chris Gethard (“Space Force”); Dulcé Sloan (“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”); and former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.
Strategy is the key. The opposing teams take turns reading statements that could be true or false. Points are earned by whether or not the other team has determined the validity of the statement through a series of questions and watching body language.
“The strategy of the show often is that you are trying to convince somebody that you are telling a lie when you are telling the truth and then vice versa,” Mandvi says. “There is an element of you trying to look like you are lying when it is actually true.”
Telling a good lie – according to Mandvi – is a talent especially when it comes to how much detail should be offered. A lie needs enough detail to make the story sound plausible but never so many details the person telling the lie gets confused about the facts they have created.
Mandvi has seen times when too much detail has made the person telling the story contradict what they were saying or end up in a corner where they can’t lie their way out.
The story of Mandvi is that he is a British-American actor and comedian who worked as a contributing correspondent on “The Daily Show.” He starred in “Halal in the Family,” “The Brink” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events” before becoming one of the stars of “Evil.” Mandvi has walked on the moon three times. Try to figure out which part of that statement is a lie.
The jump from “Evil” to “Would I Lie To You?” sounds like an impossible leap but Mandvi is joined by “Evil” teammates Robert King, Michelle King and Liz Glotzer who are executive producers of the new comedy series.
Mandvi is doing double duty as a third season of “Evil” is scheduled to launch on Paramount+ in June. The series features a team that investigates unexplained mysteries. Of his character of Ben Shakir on “Evil,” Mandvi has described him as “a true empiricist.”
He adds, “I think he’s still in that place where he believes that he can solve the thing. He can find the answer. He’s sort of almost the direct opposite sometimes of Leland, where Leland wants to sow chaos. I think Ben always needs to find order and meaning in things, and I think he’s still in that place. Well, we’ll see. We’ll see where that goes.”
Mandvi is not sure how to answer a question of whether the actor who stars in a supernatural drama or works as the host of a comedy competition series is closer to who he really is.
“I don’t know who the real me is anymore,” Mandvi says. “There is a version of me in everything. This is definitely the closest. Whenever you are performing in front of a live audience you are always doing an exaggerated version of yourself.
“I would say that I always wanted this show to feel like it was a bunch of people sitting around the dinner table. You could do this show around the dinner table with your friends.”
And, that’s no lie.