By Jenna Kauffman
On Saturday, Oct. 1, comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood took the stage at the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown. They stopped in Maryland on their tour “Colin and Brad: Two Man Group,” which has continued on for more than 13 years outside of the show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” (ABC/CW) where the two became well-known for their improvisational acts and comedy. Teaming up for the tour followed shortly.
Sherwood found his inspiration for improv in variety and sketch shows, such as “The Carol Burnett Show.” Mochrie agreed, finding comedy as a solace as he was growing up, by claiming “humor was a defense mechanism.”
Both had different goals before becoming improv-ers. Sherwood originally aspired to become an actor before moving into stand-up comedy and eventually improv, while Mochrie aimed to be a marine biologist. However, after a dare to try out for a school play and getting the part, Mochrie got a laugh and knew he truly aspired to take a different road career-wise and went to theatre school.
Eventually, the two started working on “Whose Line” together which led to the tour.
“I wanted to go on tour with someone I enjoyed improvising with, and I had already been doing a two-man improv show in comedy clubs,” Sherwood said. “Colin and I worked together on ‘Whose Line’ and have done live shows with the whole cast for a long time. And I just saw there was a market out there to go out on the road and do lots of shows because the big cast would only do tapings of the show. So we gave it try about 14 years ago and did a two-week run, and we had fun, and the show’s been growing and changing ever since.”
The show is not any different than what one would see on “Whose Line,” except, as Mochrie states, “it’s even more interactive.”
It includes many games that fans typically see on the show, including “Sound Effects” and “Moving Bodies.” The two, however, amp it up a little in comparison to the TV show by walking around blindfolded on stage during a sketch with 100 mousetraps littering the ground.
“Every scene starts with interacting with the audience members,” said Mochrie. “We have audience members on stage with us for about 80% of the game. It has the spirit of the show but there’s really no substitute for live improv.”
Jokingly, at the thought of someone who has not seen the show, Sherwood said, “If they haven’t been to one of our shows, I don’t even want to talk to them.”
As for whether they prefer the show or the tour more, both seemingly agreed on the tour.
“‘Whose Line’ has been great for us. It got us the attention and put our faces out there, it allowed us to do the tour,” Mochrie states. “What we love about the tour is that we’re in charge of it. With television, you have the producers, you have executives, they’re throwing guest stars in from different shows but here we have total control over our content. I think we enjoy the freedom we have with this show.”
However, things are not always smooth sailing. While they have been lucky and have not had to deal with many hecklers, there was one show that Mochrie and Sherwood recalled involving fellow “Whose Line” star Ryan Stiles that was performed in front of various improvers.
“We just died. There was nothing… and as soon as the show was over, we each walked to our car, and just drove away. I don’t think we spoke to each other for two weeks, just because it was so horrible,” Mochrie says.
For the most part, though, the duo receives positive feedback from audiences. For anyone aspiring to work with comedy or improve, or interested in joining the entertainment industry, they offered some advice.
“Make sure you love it and love it for the right reasons. Never go into this business thinking you’re going to become famous,” Mochrie stated.
He continued, “We were very fortunate that this one show came along that showcased our one marketable skill, but it’s very rare. If you love doing it, do it, it’s so fulfilling and there’s no better feeling. Do it as much as you can, wherever you can. In front of an audience, that’s where you find where your weaknesses and your strengths are. And always be open to change.”
Sherwood and Mochrie are thankful for where “Whose Line” and this tour have taken them. As Sherwood at one point stated during the interview, “It’s kind of like [being] astronauts. There aren’t that many of us.”
The duo will continue to tour until the end of the year with more to follow next year.
For more information on the tour or to check out dates, go to their website.