Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood March 30, 2007
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood Just Make It Up at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
Thinking on your feet is not easy for most people. Thinking on your feet, while being constantly harried and entertaining in front of three thousand people is quite another thing altogether. Such was the task of the amazingly resourceful, endlessly hilarious and extraordinarily creative Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood in their sold-out comedy improv show on Friday evening at the Performing Arts Center. These two stars of the smash comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” use the format of the hit show in their own live show, making hilarity out of thin air. The gents take suggestions from the audience, and then create scenes with daunting distractions and mind-bending wrinkles thrown at them like standing before a knife-thrower in the carnival. Except in this case, there are thousands of knife throwers and just two targets. It was a delightful and astounding display of verbal dexterity and long experience in the comedy field that turned the ridiculous into the sublimely funny throughout. The fantastic thing about the entire evening was the demonstration of the joys of language and humor without demeaning humiliation and self-flagellation. These two men use English like a professional juggler and just never drop the words that flow in torrents.
There are a few physical props but words are the key ingredient in all of the bits. To warm up they formed a story on the run using silly suggested words from the audience, a telephone book poked at randomly and their well-muscled wits. So we witnessed a skit about the Donkey Day Festival in Poland which hinged on heating repair and garbled instructions. Volunteer kids Jessica, Sabrina and Chad delightedly honked bicycle horns to make Colin and Brad change slants on describing a tale of plastics, pet turtles and a society threatening shampoo shortage. It may seem odd but the lady in front of me was whooping with joy to the point I feared for her respiration and the entire section rocked with laughter. This is a show that is loved by ages from 8 to 108 so the next segment took suggestions from that demographic. Brad was sent out in the lobby and the crowd cooked up a crime that he would be forced to confess to without ever hearing a word. Using clues from Mr. Mochrin he finally did admit to doing away with his wife, Chewbacca, while shoplifting Honey Nut Cheerios that tasted like Germans, in Apalachicola, Florida at the Jell-O-Inspection plant with a scythe. Believe it or not, it took him about three minutes.
There was great language dexterity tossed about in the exhausting but very entertaining exercise involving audience suggestions couched by “questions only,’’ “one syllable words,” “innuendo (if you know what I mean)” and “Doctor Seuss rhymes.” Can you see where this is going? Can you imagine the laughter? Have you ever heard anything like this? Could it be that improv is the purest form of comedy? Is it possible anyone could make humor out of religious professors, bedpans and a humane cat shelter? Why am I writing in questions if it were not true? The place was full and the yucks were true. Two men, on stage in front of everybody, doing their thing, if you know what I mean. It was certain before the curtain that Colin and Brad did use up every dictionary we had. The last two bits were the funniest of the night and left the place in stitches. One involved two audience members as sound effects engineers but Colin and especially Brad where extraordinarily challenged since one was a shy young girl named April whose sound effects scale ranged from embarrassed giggle to embarrassed giggle. Then there were the 99 mousetraps, an alphabet game and both men blindfolded, barefooted, singing in operatic form and sometimes in pain. You just had to be there.