“I’m the thesaurus. He’s the hysterical colouring book.”
It’s a short, articulate description comedian Brad Sherwood uses to depict his closest working partner Colin Mochrie. It’s not exactly profound, but it draws a few chuckles.
Sherwood and Mochrie are stars of the Emmy nominated TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?
As two of North America’s most popular comedic personalities, the Arden Theatre has invited the duo to perform their improvised Two Man Group show as the season opener.
They met more than 20 years ago when both were living in Los Angeles. Actress Debra McGrath, Mochrie’s wife, was producing My Talk Show and she hired Sherwood. Mochrie was playing Mr. Mom at the time.
“He would never admit he’s one of my best friends. We insult each other. We’re much like brothers,” explains Sherwood.
Working together as much as schedules permit, both on stage and behind the camera, the two comedians have developed a successful touring formula with Two Man Group.
“We travel well together. He is low maintenance. As I age I’ve become lower maintenance by necessity and we both like to make people laugh.”
Their similar traits are as important as the differences.
Both are left-handed. Both are Sagittarians born six days apart in different years. Both are much shyer in person than under the lights.
“I’ve become a shyer person because I have an outlet. I don’t have to be the lampshade-on-the-head kind of guy the way I was when I was younger.”
But once on stage, Mochrie ratchets up the goofball characters while Sherwood tends to get wordy.
“I do verbose well and I can rap on the spot.”
Like most individuals in the arts, the two improvisors have a need to distinguish themselves and make a mark or be noticed by others. They have a certain compulsion to be funny, but they also love what they do.
“You’ll see a lot of actors quit during a successful series no matter how much money they’re paid. They don’t enjoy the work anymore. This for me is most rewarding and definitely a job I’ll be doing until I can’t do it anymore.”
A great deal of their pleasure stems from the variety.
“We play lots of different characters. One moment you could be a plumber on a battleship. The next moment you could be fighting killer rabbits or pirates on the high seas.”
In his youth Sherwood was deeply influenced by the Monty Python gang and at one point he wanted to be John Cleese. But he’s also looked to the American pantheon for mentorship – comedians such as Don Knotts, Art Carney of The Honeymooners and Tim Conway from The Carol Burnett Show.
“They’re vulnerable, frail and goofy. It’s ironic that Colin is like all three of my comedic heroes.”
For their St. Albert performance, they are planning a series of interactive, improvised routines with audience help. One game is called Mousetrap.
“We place 100 live mousetraps on the stage. They’re like a minefield. We’re blindfolded and we perform barefooted. We try and do as normal a scene as possible, and the audience squeals with delight at the probability of our getting hurt.”
A big proponent of laughter, Sherwood urges everyone come out.
“Comedy is so healing to a person’s body, mind and soul. It makes you feel good. When there’s a room filled with people laughing, it’s something special not present in any other gathering. Laughter is healing. It’s that simple.
Due to high-ticket demand their dangerously funny comedy show will be held at the larger Servus Place venue on Friday, September 20.
Two Man Group
Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie
Friday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Servus Place
$45 to $100. Call 780-459-1542 or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.ca