Mochrie and Sherwood of "Whose Line" bring improv show to Greenville
June 6, 2014
The Greenville News, Paul Hyde - June 6, 2014
Improv comedians Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie are probably best known for their hit TV series "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
The two also tour extensively with their live show, Two Man Group. It swings through the Peace Center on June 14.
The Greenville news spoke to Sherwood at his home in Las Vegas about the Two Man Group Tour, the art of improv and what Mochrie does when he's comically stumped (he faints).
Greenville News: Is your entire two-hour show improvised, nothing scripted?
Brad Sherwod: It is all flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants improv. We bring audience members up on stage through most of the show, and all the scenes and games start with audience suggestions. There'll be some musical improv as well. We've been touring our two-man show for 10 years, but it's never the same. We basically hand the keys of the car to the audience and they drive us wherever they want to go.
GN: How does someone train to be good at improv comedy?
Sherwood: The only preparation for becoming a good improviser is that you have to do it over and over and over again. It's sort of like sports, like practicing basketball shots. Every time you do it, you do it from a slightly different angle. Your instincts and muscle memory improve. We sort of have brain muscle memory for getting out of comedic jams. It allows us to find our way through something in a funny way.
GN: Is it frightning to walk on stage with little idea of what you'll be doing for the next two hours?
Sherwood: After years and years of doing shows where you're never saying the same thing twice, you trust that process. Really, improv is just a funny version of how everybody lives their lives every single moment of every sing day. You're improvising when you're driving, adapting and adjusting to the things in front of you. Every conversation you have also is not preplanned. So, it's just a funny version of what your brain does all day long.
GN: How do you describe Mochrie's style compared to yours?
Sherwood: He's more physical and character-driven, so he can walk on stage and do or say something goofy and he's got the audience in the palm of his hand. And I have to be Mister Smarty Pants and say something clever. Pretty much anything Colin does is going to make the audience laugh. I really have to raise the bar on my skill set to keep up with him, being witty and smarty-pants.
GN: How does the audience set the agenda for the show?
Sherwood: We ask the audience questions, like "Tell us an unusual occupation or something on your bucket list." Or, "Tell us something you're afraid of - besides spiders and snakes." We always try to do different starting points for each game.
GN: Do you ever get stumped on stage, at a loss for words?
Sherwood: Oh, always. We're always living in a space of "Now, what do we do?" Sometimes you literally spit something out of your mind that makes sense or doesn't make sense. And if it doesn't make sense, the guy you're improvising with starts making fun of you and how stupid your idea is. In that sense, you always have a safety net because good ideas are great and bad ideas are sometimes even better. I used to tease Colin that whenever he didn't have an idea on "Whose Line," he'd just faint and fall to the floor.
WANT TO GO?
What: Improv comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood in the Two Main Group Tour
When: 8 p.m. on June 14.
Where: Peace Center Concert Hall
Tickets: $35 - $55
Information: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org