Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood August 20, 2008
By Glen Creason
The problem with writing about the Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie show is that it is the ultimate “you had to be there” kind of experience. Many know the duo from the TV show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway” but to see and hear them live is to take a quantum leap forward in the improvisational form. They say again and again that they are just making it up as they go along and they mean it. It helps that the two comedians have razor sharp minds and unlimited creativity with words, plus they are working in front of one huge cult crowd that absolutely loves this stuff. That audience at Cerritos, jamming every square inch of the big hall was ecstatic in their appreciation of the two gents and helped out quite a bit on the evening’s antics.
The basic premise is that they choose some word games that on the face are kind of silly but the way in which these two artists play the games becomes an art form and somewhat educational. Sure, they threw in some scatological references and sometimes struggled to find the right humorous answers but time and time again they swung for the fences and tagged home runs. The willing crowd serves as foils for the tomfoolery, operating as stage props, providing hilarious non-sequiters on index cards drawn from the front rows and even shouts of strange suggestions that Mochrie and Sherwood blithely incorporate into the sketches they perform. Then again the twosome takes the big risks and the crowd sits back and roars when they come through. How would you like to stand in front of several thousand folks and make Poland, anteaters, forks and moving parts the fodder for a hilarious comedy routine? No rehearsal needed or possible in these cases.
They pulled stuff from the show and really did not have a lead-bell moment the entire hour and a half plus. They played Jeopardy with honking horns and became puppets for sweating audience volunteer puppeteers. They built outhouses on a razor while “a walkin’” as other “volunteers” provided really good sound effects. Really their piece de resistance is the set of five word games played on the run including “questions only,” “one syllable words,” “if you know what I mean,” “letter substitutions,” and “Doctor Seuss rhymes” which all worked and elicited wheezy horse laughs from the delirious audience.
It should be mentioned that this is probably the most eclectic crowd imaginable with kids, grandparents, hipsters, TV nerds and even publicists on vacation howling along together. Basically, this show works wonderfully because the two actors seem to love what they are doing in every scene, despite the sometimes frightfully demanding situations. They are the very definition of aplomb.
The final bit involved an opera by the pair, sung along using a reverse alphabet, blindfolded, barefooted on a stage covered with two hundred painfully loaded mouse-traps. You kind of had to be there.