Drew Allison Carey (born May 23, 1958, in Cleveland, OH) is an American Comedian, Actor, Photographer, and TV Game Show Host as he is currently in his 15th year hosting The Price is Right (taking over the hosting reigns from 35-year veteran Bob Barker) as well as hosting the short-lived CBS Primetime Game Show Power of 10.
Born and raised in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, Drew is the youngest of three sons to parents Lewis and Beulah Carey.
When he was only eight years of age, Drew's father, Lewis, died from a brain tumor. In 1979, Carey graduated from the James Ford Rhodes High School and it was here where he played the cornet and trumpet in the school's marching band. After he graduated, Drew continued with his education as he attended college at Kent State University (KSU) but was expelled twice for poor academic performance. He left KSU after three years, but not before becoming a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After having grown tired of the college life, Drew left the university and enlisted into the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1979 and served a six-year stint. He relocated to Las Vegas for a few months in 1989, and for a short time worked as a bank teller and a waiter at Denny's.
After serving in the U.S. Marines and holding down small paying jobs to make a living, Drew found a new passion in life: Stand-Up Comedy. In 1989, he began his comedy career by following up on a suggestion by David Lawrence (a disc jockey friend who had been paying Drew to write jokes for David's radio show in Cleveland) to go to the library and borrow books on how to write jokes. The following year, after winning an open-microphone contest, he became Master of Ceremonies at the Cleveland Comedy Club. He performed at multiple comedy clubs over the next few years in both Cleveland and Los Angeles.
Career in Stand-Up Comedy
With determination in his heart, Drew chased after his dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. In 1989, he first gained fame as a comedian when he competed on the talent show Star Search and from there, he continued to work up the ladder as a stand-up comedian after landing a gig on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in November 1991. Carson was so impressed with Drew's comedic talents, he invited him to sit on the couch next to his desk which was considered a rare honor for any comedian. Later that year, Carey joined The 11th Annual Young Comedians Special on HBO and made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.
In 1991, Drew wrote his own stand-up comedy special which aired on Showtime, entitled Drew Carey: Human Cartoon, for which he won a Cable-ACE Award for Best Writing.
From Comedy to Acting, The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line is it Anyway?
Following on the success of his early stand-up career, Drew subsequently appeared in several supporting roles on television shows, during which he developed the character of a hapless middle-class bachelor. In 1991, he scored a small role in the film Cone-heads as a taxi passenger. Turning his attention to television, in 1991, Carey co-starred with actor and fellow comedian John Caponera in The Good Life, a short-lived sitcom that debuted on January 3, 1991, and ended on April 11th on NBC. After the show's cancellation, Carey joined up with writer Bruce Helford (who was also a writer for The Good Life), who gave him a job as a consultant for the television show Someone Like Me.
After their stint on Someone Like Me, Drew and Helford developed and produced the storyline for The Drew Carey Show. The sitcom was set in Drew's hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and revolved around a fictionalized version of himself as he took on the stresses of life and work with his group of childhood friends.
The Drew Carey Show made it's nationally televised debut on September 11, 1995, on ABC. The show opened up to positive reviews from critics and powerhouse ratings. In his autobiography, he revealed his frustration with having to deal with censors and being unable to employ the off-color humor common in his stand-up routines. Originally, he earned $60,000 per episode in the first seasons and from there, he renegotiated for $300,000 and by the final season, he earned a whopping $750,000 per episode. After its first few seasons, ratings for The Drew Carey Show began to decline, mostly because of increasing production costs (around $3 million per episode) precipitating its cancellation. The final episode aired on September 8, 2004.
The show had a total of 232 episodes over its nine-year run and Carey was one of four actors to appear in every episode (the other three being co-stars Kathy Kinney, Diedrich Bader, and Ryan Stiles).
In addition to starring in The Drew Carey Show, Drew then began to pull double duty as he began hosting the American version of the improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, (also on ABC) debuting on August 5, 1998. Also on board was his sitcom co-star Ryan Stiles, who served as the roast-master. Carey would announce the improv guests, direct the games and then would usually involve himself in the final game of the episode. The show ran for a total of 220 episodes until the show's cancellation in December 2007. Also In 1998, the New York Friars' Club made Carey the newest inductee of the group's Comedy Central Roast. Drew's income from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Drew Carey Show led to his inclusion on the Forbes list of highest-paid entertainers of 1998, at 24th with $45.5 million.
For the WB's 2004-2005 primetime schedule, Drew co-produced and starred in Drew Carey's Green Screen Show, a spin-off of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The comedy sketch program was quickly canceled by the WB network but was picked up shortly afterward by Comedy Central. The show's premise relied on the use of a green screen for all of the actors' improv interactions. Animation on the screen was inserted during post-production.
Game Shows: The Price is Right, Power of 10
Working as a Stand-Up Comedian, Actor and TV Host, Drew became unstoppable. Beginning in 2007, he added a new occupation to his long-standing resume: Game Show Host. The first beginning of his Game Show hosting gig is by hosting the game show pilot Power of 10, which debuted on August 7th on CBS. The show opened to positive responses from TV critics as it aired twice during the late summer and early fall. Each game featured contestants predicting how a cross-section of Americans responded to questions covering a wide variety of topics in polls conducted by CBS. Power of 10 ended its run on January 23, 2008.
After taping the pilot episode for Power of 10, Carey was then contacted by CBS, in talks of possibly replacing 35-year retiring veteran Bob Barker on The Price is Right, Drew originally said no the opportunity. But after thinking it over, Drew was approached by CBS execs again and decided to give it a shot as he announced it on Late Show with David Letterman that he would succeed Barker as host of the program beginning in the fall of 2007.
Before it was announced that Drew would become the new host of The Price is Right, several candidates were lined up for the job with a large number of them taping auditions. Some of those candidates included film & TV actor George Hamilton, TV hosts Mark Steines and Mario Lopez, veteran Game Show Host (and voice-over host for the TriP DVD game) Todd Newton and even former TNPiR host Doug Davidson was in talks about replacing Barker.
Carey taped his second episode of The Price is Right on August 15 and his second week of shows aired nationally on the week of November 19-23, 2007 (originally scheduled to air on November 19, #4091K (Aired out-of-order on December 11), November 20, #4092K (Aired out-of-order on October 25), November 21 #4093K (Aired out-of-order on October 22), November 22, #4094K (Aired out-of-order on October 19), November 23 #4095K (Aired out-of-order on October 26) respectively). In response to replacing Barker as host of the game show, Carey stated "You can replace Bob Barker. I don't compare myself to anybody... It's only about what you're doing and supposed to do, and I feel like I'm supposed to be doing this."
In addition to Drew becoming the new host of Price, the show went in for a major overhaul as the set and it's iconic theme music were updated but the one thing that didn't change (besides the pricing games & their set designs) was the old closing line about spaying and neutering the pets, originated with Barker, although Carey's version uses slightly different wording.
As Drew entered his second year as host of The Price is Right (Season 37, 2008), he wanted to add his own special touch to the show. He began to write some showcase sketches which he called "Drewcases" as these were reportedly based upon some of the comedy sketches seen on his comedy shows. But unfortunately for Drew, this change did not sit well with the fans with the biggest reasoning being that the show's then-current announcer Rich Fields was the subject on the majority of these "Drewcases" to which some fans have stated that it made Fields look like either a complete jerk or a joke while others found them to be disrespectful towards him (some fans also believe that Carey played a part in some of Price's longtime showcase skits and themes being dropped from the show altogether by 2010) and as a result of this, the "Drewcases" were quickly dropped.
A 2017 episode airing on Halloween saw the case portraying members of a superhero league entitled The Prize League; Drew portrayed the head of the league, Captain Giveaway.
Other TV Appearances and Gigs
In May 2000, Drew participated in a celebrity edition of the ABC Primetime Game Show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? hosted by Regis Philbin. He played for the Ohio Library Foundation and he was one of two celebrity participants to win the $500,000 Cash Prize for charity (the other being fellow comedienne & talk show hostess Rosie O'Donnell, who also participated in the same celebrity edition & appeared the day after Drew). Carey would return to participate in a second celebrity edition of Millionaire later that November, playing for the same charity and won an additional $33,000 (he lost on the $121,000 question, leaving with the $33K) making him one of the biggest winning contestants on Millionaire who did not win the top prize.
He also has participated in the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games for the Cleveland Public Library charity. In June 2008, Carey offered to donate up to $100,000 (in $10,000 increments) to the Mooch Myernick Memorial Fund if anybody could beat him at the video game FIFA Soccer 08 for the Xbox 360. He dared five players from both the U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams to compete against him. He ended up donating $100,000, plus $60,000 (all total: $160,000) for losing two games out of the six games he played.
Some other Drew's TV credits include appearing as himself on shows such as The Weird Al Show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Larry Sanders Show, The Simpsons and Family Guy.
In 2002, he starred alongside fellow comedienne and Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a made-for-TV musical remake of the 1939 Disney animated classic Pinocchio titled Geppetto, playing (the title character) the lonely toymaker who desperately wanted to become a father to Louis-Dreyfus' role of the Blue Fairy. Drew's role in the film later became a recurring butt of jokes on his series Whose Line is it Anyway?.
In April 2011, (his 3rd year hosting Price) Carey began hosting a new primetime improv show, called Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza which reunited him with Rich Fields (as the announcer) after being dumped from Price in 2010. The improv-sketch show was filmed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and aired on the Game Show Network beginning on April 11th. The show took on the premise of Whose Line? and Drew Carey's Green Screen Show in that it features many of the same performers from both shows and they do improv based on audience-provided suggestions. Aside from being reunited with ex-Price announcer Rich Fields, Carey was also reunited with his Drew Carey Show co-stars Kathy Kinney and Ryan Stiles, both of whom appeared frequently. Also on board was Let's Make a Deal announcer, Jonathan Magnum and comedians Jeff Davis and Brad Sherwood, both of whom appeared as intern announcers on The Price is Right. Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza was axed after one season due to poor ratings and the program quickly disappeared from the Game Show Network lineup and has not been seen in reruns ever since.
Drew also competed in the 2014 season of ABC's Dancing With the Stars, he and his professional dancing partner, Cheryl Burke (who later appeared as a guest model on Price), were eliminated during Week 6, ending the competition in 8th place.
On March 6, 2018, Drew appeared in an episode of NCIS as a retired Marine. His character was a sergeant, the last rank he held in real life. Real pictures of him in dress blues and everyday garb were on the plasma screen in the squad room.
Drew has also been a longtime host on SiriusXM channel, Little Steven's Underground Garage (Ch. 21) where for ten years, he hosted a three-hour radio show called Drew Carey's Friday Night Dance Party which aired the last Friday of every month In August 2018, Drew turned ihis monthly show into a weekly show called The Friday Night Freak Out which airs every Friday from 8:00pm-11:00pm ET on SiriusXM.
In 2020, Drew appeared in the third season of the FOX reality competition series The Masked Singer under the guise as the Llama, his songs were She Bangs by Ricky Martin and It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones. Ultimately being eliminated in seventeenth place.
Personal Life & Health problems
Away from all the hosting and comedy gigs, Drew also settled in for family life. He was previously engaged to be married to Nicole Jaracz, who has a son named Connor from a previous relationship and Drew became a father figure to. Nicole and Drew have no children together. Nicole and her son have appeared alongside Carey on The Price is Right several times. Although he proposed to Jaracz in 2007, the pair never wed as the engagement was called off in January 2012. In January 2018, Drew announced his engagement to therapist Amie Harwick but the pair ended their engagement later that year in November but remained close.
On the April 1, 2013 (#6291K) episode of The Price is Right, Drew and announcer George Gray switched places with the show's models, Gwendolyn Osborne, Amber Lancaster, Manuela Arbeláez and Rob Wilson as they each rotated between hosting and announcing duties while Drew and George modeled the prizes and each modeled their showcase.
The following year, Carey and Gray traded places with fellow comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson (hosting The Late Late Show at the time & hosted Celebrity Name Game) and Shadoe Stevens, reprising their respective roles on Ferguson's show while Ferguson hosted and Stevens announced on Price.
In August 2002, while filming The Drew Carey Show, Drew was admitted to a nearby hospital after suffering from severe chest pains and underwent coronary angioplasty. Although his weight was a comedic topic throughout his sitcom and improv shows, in 2010, he began a diet and exercise plan, resulting in an extensive weight loss (which he maintains to this present day). He also claimed that he had cured his Type 2 diabetes as a direct result.
In January 2018, Drew announced his engagement to therapist Amie Harwick but no word of an upcoming wedding. In February 2020, Harwick was found dead in a Hollywood Hills neighborhood and an ex-boyfriend of hers named Gareth Pursehouse was later arrested on suspicion of murder as production of Price was on hiatus due to his death.
As of today, Drew happily continues with hosting duties on The Price is Right as October 2018 will mark his 11th year with the series. as well as continuing to perform stand up comedy routines across the country.
Carey is a Buddhist.