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Whose on first: Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood act up.
Whose on first: Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood act up.

Games People Play

You aren't quite sure who Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are, but those names sound so familiar. Wait, weren't they on that show with? Or didn't they? No bells ring in your head. Lately, though, the comedians have received plenty of exposure, thanks to the improvisational bonanza Whose Line Is It Anyway? The TV show, which spent years in obscurity on Comedy Central and later as part of ABC's Thursday-night lineup hosted by Drew Carey, finally received a noticeable time slot in ABC Family's schedule. Read: reruns that play all the freaking time. "I think of [Whose Line] as a new Gilligan's Island," Mochrie says. "We'll be on forever somewhere."

Thanks to reruns, basic cable viewers can constantly watch people sing about zookeepers, guess the identities of partygoers and channel the personalities of cartoon characters into news anchors--all done off the top of their heads. Despite the seemingly endless episodes, though, Whose Line was actually canceled years ago, and, while other cast members have moved into bigger TV and movie gigs, Mochrie and Sherwood haven't given up on their improv roots just yet. "I have incredibly lucked out," Mochrie says. "Improv is my one major skill. I've been doing it for 25 years because I loved it, but I never thought it'd be something I would make a living from."

The two men are still making that living with An Evening With Brad Sherwood & Colin Mochrie. Much like Whose Line, the live performance revolves around a series of games that are controlled by the audience. The location, the dialogue and even the movement of the two actors in any given scene are directed by the crowd, and that means the guys can finally prove their improv prowess to TV doubters. "People always think it's a gimmick," Sherwood says, "but when we use your gimmick, you realize we're improvising."

Fans of the TV show will see quite a difference in what the guys pull off outside the living room. Longer skits, no censors and increased audience participation are all promised by the duo, which they hope will in turn promise bigger laughs. "Each of us takes turns setting up the games, and through that we build kind of a relationship during the show," Mochrie says. "Depending on the nature of any given bit, [the relationship] can be playful and fun or mean and spiteful. The audience gets to know us a little better because they get to see us at our most vulnerable."

Sherwood elaborates: "I think the difference between seeing improv live and on TV is the same as listening to a band on CD and in concert. It's a high-energy event. Granted, the songs aren't going to be as clean as on the album, and we're not necessarily going to be clean. We don't go out there and try to do potty humor, but if the occasion calls for it, we say whatever we want. It's still a family show, but it's not rated PG."

Though we might have jogged your memory and made you want to catch these guys on a Whose Line rerun, their live show is your best chance to watch these underrated talents shine without being overshadowed by a bigger cast. "The most intriguing part of this [two-man show] was that it scared me," Mochrie says. "You can't have an off night with only two guys, or otherwise the other guy is screwed. Fortunately, the show has evolved while working together, and even now we're still evolving. "


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