BEAVER CREEK — Comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are the John Glenns of improv.
“There may be 30 people in the world who could make a living doing this,” Sherwood said.
The profession of improv was not a job to which people could aspire as kids. It didn’t show up on his high school aptitude tests, and that makes it ... and he chuckled when he said this ... a little like being an astronaut.
“We’re the John Glenns of improv!” Sherwood said.
Mochrie and Sherwood are two of the stars of the hit television comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” They have been on the road non-stop for 10 years, bringing hope to the improv-impaired.
“We might be one of the only comedy acts that has never taken a break. We’ve been doing it for 10 years, but it doesn’t get monotonous. The crowd is a big part of that,” Sherwood said.
It’s not like a stand-up show; there’s lots of audience participation.
“People who are fans of the show know they’re in for a fun, goofy night,” Sherwood said.
Because the show is completely improvised, they’re constantly taking the pulse of the audience and adapting to what the audience thinks is funny, Sherwood said.
“We bring people on stage in more than half the games, so it’s even more interactive. They move us around, or they may be props in scenes. We’re constantly changing things up,” Sherwood said.
Colin, then Brad
What they don’t change up is the order of their names. It’s Colin and Brad, not Brad and Colin. Sherwood has an explanation.
“Age always comes before talent and good looks. We start with Colin and everything else falls to me,” Sherwood said.
Sherwood said he has been making people laugh since he was in high school.
“My teachers appreciated me because I was a smart aleck, but I wasn’t disruptive. At least that’s the way I remember it,” he said. “I always wrote my stories with a sense of humor. They seemed to appreciate that.”
He did some regular stand-up when he was in college, but he likes improv better.
“Stand-up can almost be an adversarial relationship. The audience can be sitting there with their arms crossed, daring you to try to make them laugh. You have to have a pretty thick skin to do stand-up,” Sherwood said.
Their interactive performance draws from some of the most popular improv games from “Whose Line,” including Sounds from a Hat and Sound Effects. Audience members provide a soundtrack to the comedians’ outrageous antics.
Mochrie is part of the new re-launch of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” on the CW. Last year, the two were together on the ABC show “Trust Us with Your Life.”
Mochrie got his big break in comedy in the mid-1980s when he joined the famed Second City Toronto troupe.
Fun fact: Debra McGrath, the director at Second City who hired him, later married him. Mochrie has appeared in several other television shows and commercials and starred with McGrath in the 2002’s completely improvised film “Expecting.”
Sherwood, also an alumnus of Second City, was a regular for three seasons on the British version of “Whose Line” before heading over to ABC’s version. His past credits include “The Drew Carey Show” and “To Tell the Truth.”
“We might be one of the only comedy acts that has never taken a break. We’ve been doing it for 10 years, but it doesn’t get monotonous. The crowd is a big part of that.”