Brad Sherwood, Colin Mochrie: The more ignorant we are, the funnier we will be

Mar 19, 2016, 09:54 IST | Krutika Behrawala

Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie, popular faces on the hit TV show, 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' to take the stage in the Mumbai for an interactive comedy show

Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood Actor-comics

At a time when improv (improvisation) comedy was an alien term even on the international comedy scene, American and Canadian actor-comics Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie made the world laugh with their wit-laden impromptu gags in one of the longest-running TV series, Whose Line Is It Anyway? Performing together for over two decades, the duo will present a live show in the city next week, as part of their India tour, Black Dog Easy Evenings. Their 90-minute show will be preceded by a 20-minute act by Anu Menon. Incidentally, the tour marks the pair’s return to India after seven years. “At that time, although we were confident about our show, we were worried how it would translate in front of an international audience but it went smoothly. We hope for the same this time too,” shares Mochrie. Excerpts from an interview:

(Left-right) Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood
(Left-right) Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood

Q. Were you into improv comedy before Whose Line… happened? How has it honed your skills?
Colin Mochrie (CM): Yes, both of us were involved with Theatresports (a form of improvisational theatre) started by a British gentleman in Canada, where we learnt about improv. It wasn’t considered high profile till Whose Line… came along. That gave us an international audience and a chance to tour.
Brad Sherwood (BS): By nature, we are funny people and you get better with age and experience. As an improv purist, you definitely don’t want to repeat the same thing.

Q. What do you keep in mind when performing together?
CM: Brad and I have known each other for over 25 years now, which makes it easier to work together. We trust each other on stage and watch each other’s backs. We also make fun of each other, in a sibling-like way.
BS: Also, we try to make every act different, which makes it fun to work together, even though we’ve both been improvising now for over 30 years.

Q. What can we expect from this tour?
CM: It’s pretty much like an episode of Whose Line… except that it will be even more interactive. Our scenes will be from audience suggestions and for about 80 per cent of the show, we will even have audience members on stage with us.

Q. So, are you updating yourself on India for material for your shows?
BS: We believe the more ignorant we are, the funnier we will be.
CM: Since the suggestions come from the audience, the show will be as India specific as they make it. We may not even know some of the things that they tell us, so we will have to make up something on the spot and make sense out of that.

Q. Last year, Jerry Seinfeld’s show here was cancelled at the last minute. Does it make you wary of performing here?
BS: No. This is the first time we have heard of it. Everybody on the planet will agree that Colin and I are way more popular than Jerry Seinfeld, so I don’t think we have anything to worry about (laughs).

Q. Have you heard of any Indian comedians?
CM: Last time we were here, we had an open mic with Indian comics and that was very funny. I understand that stand-up comedy is fairly new art form in India. So, we don’t know a lot of stand-up or improv comedians.

Q. These days, everyone wants to be a stand-up comic. What’s your advice?
BS: Stand-up is lot more work than what we do. Stand-up comics need to watch the news and turn that into a list of ideas that become jokes. We don’t do that; we make up things on the spot. We get to be stand-ups that don’t have to do homework.
CM: But yes, you cannot learn about improv until you are actually doing it. You will be able to find out your strengths and weaknesses only in front of an audience, so do it as often as you can.

Q. What’s on your wishlist for this tour?
CM: Last time, we didn’t get a chance to be tourists, so we hope to find more time to visit food places in and around the cities instead of just being in the hotel.
CM: Both of us are huge fans of Indian food.
BS: Yeah, we love spice.

On: March 25, 8 pm
At Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.
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