Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood to perform at The Maryland Theatre

"Whose Line is It Anyway?" improv comedians come to Hagerstown

"Whose Line is It Anyway?" improv comedians come to Hagerstown

November 12, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

In the "World's Most Dangerous Improv Game," a mousetrap is placed on the stage, and Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are left blindfolded and barefoot.

Let's hope this isn't one of the segments on Mochrie and Sherwood's improv tour that requires audience participation.

"People love it," said Mochrie from Toronto, his hometown. "It's a great show."

Mochrie and Sherwood spent many seasons drawing out laughs as co-stars on "Whose Line is it Anyway?" On Friday, they'll do a two-man take on "Whose Line" at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

Sherwood and Mochrie chatted with The Herald-Mail days before the Hagerstown show.

"I've known Brad for a long time, and we worked well together," Mochrie said.

Sherwood said their two-hour show depends heavily on audience participation. He said that folks can expect to be pulled up on stage -- just like on "Whose Line."

Mochrie's first and last time as a stand-up comedian


Mochrie, 51, is married. His wife, Deb, is also a performer and they have a 19-year-old son who lives in New York. He said improv is the closest he'll ever get to working.

"Improv is the only skill I have. I really can't do anything else," Mochrie said.

He used as an example his first and last attempt at being a stand-up comedian during his "Whose Line" days. Mochrie said he was asked to host an event in Las Vegas but was later told that he would be expected to open the night with stand-up.

Mochrie had no material. He had never done stand-up.

"I figured I would do some improv thing where I would tell a story and then I would get the audience to fill in some blanks," Mochrie said.

But it didn't end up happening that way. Mochrie said he tanked.

"At one point, the person who was putting on the event shouted, 'Listen to this guy, he's really trying.' That's all I could remember," Mochrie said. "I started drinking heavily. Luckily, there were two guys right in the front who I guess were 'Whose Line' fans, so I really played to them. But they were the only ones who were actually listening."

Sherwood gets a dose of 'reality'

Sherwood, 44, is married and lives in California.

He recently shot a pilot for a TV show that could air on GSN and says he's keeping his fingers crossed.

He also said that he and Mochrie had been kicking around the idea of doing a reality show based on their improv tour.

But recently, Sherwood encountered a different sort of reality. He appeared on the most recent season of Bravo's reality show, "Flipping Out," whose chief character is high-end house flipper Jeff Lewis. Sherwood said that his wife hired Lewis to do some remodeling work.

The show's fans might remember the episode in which Sherwood invited Lewis and a colleague to come over for a taco dinner -- in their pajamas.

Sherwood said he was-n't trying to be bawdy -- they're just casual like that.

"Of course the show had to make it sound like some big, salacious thing, or it's like a swingers party," Sherwood said.

Sherwood and Lewis's relationship unraveled on camera thereafter. Sherwood claimed Lewis's workers were destroying his house. Lewis complained that Sherwood was being whiny and unreasonable. In the end, "We didn't end up having him do the remodel," he said.

Sherwood said he had been approached about doing other reality shows in the past, but the opportunities didn't pan out. He said he was once asked by a publicist if he'd be interested in being on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club," but he said the pitch came too late -- after he had lost a bunch of weight.

Improv to the rescue

Sherwood said that as a kid, he had always wanted to be a movie actor -- not necessarily an improv comedian.

"It's sort of strange and funny, I'm making a living doing this," Sherwood said.

Sherwood acted in drama productions as a youth growing up in Chicago and New Mexico. He worked his way west, to an improv group known as Theatre Sports and later to Second City in Los Angeles.

Improv was a means to an end.

"To me, it was kind of like practicing to be the funniest that you could possibly be," Sherwood said. "To me doing improv was like the workout at the gym to make you strong for potentially where the money would be -- movies or doing a sitcom."

Now, improv has become what Sherwood calls a "full-time part-time job."

Mochrie said he's found something he loves, something that doesn't feel like work, but he doesn't take it for granted.

"It's still as much fun as when I first started doing it," Mochrie said. "I love the fact that it's always challenging. There's never a point where you go out and think, 'I'm going to be fantastically funny.' Every night, you're starting from square one."

If you go ...

WHAT: Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, improv comedy a la "Whose Line is it Anyway?"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST:Tickets cost $54.50 or $43.50

CONTACT: The Maryland Theatre box office, 301-790-2000, or go to

WEB: www.colinand

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