Who couldn’t use a laugh these days after slogging through a global pandemic and a chaotic political season all rolled into the same year? Pepperdine University will be serving up a big dose of funny on Friday when it welcomes two comedy improv superstars to Smothers Theater: Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.
Known to television audiences for their more than 30-year run (yes, you read that right!) on the hit show “Whose Line is it Anyway?,” the comedic team will present an unusual performance at the Smothers Theatre on campus—unusual in that the two performances, Friday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., include audience participation and are, of course, all completely improvised.
“I describe improv as smart people acting stupidly,” star Sherwood told The Malibu Times. “Our show is a completely improvised comedy show. We take suggestions from the audience. We bring audience members up on stage.”
Since the show is improvised using audience suggestions and “our wit” and no props, Sherwood noted, “We will be flying by the seat of our pants.” But Sherwood isn’t too worried. The comedy veteran figured that, along with his partner Mochrie, “between us we have about 70 years’ experience” doing it.
“Fans of ours know us from ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’” the comedian described. “We’ve both been on pretty much all the episodes of that for many seasons. The show has been on [U.S.] TV for nearly 20 years.” “Whose Line” has been running on several different networks for about 30 years. It started in Britain and gained success in the U.S. Mochrie and Sherwood have been on for nearly the entire run.
That’s a long time for the youthful looking 57-year-old Sherwood, who commented, “When you keep laughing, you don’t age, apparently.” But when speaking about his comedy partner Mochrie, Sherwood took a jab: “Colin’s 117!”
Since the two performers have been working together on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” for three decades and taking the show on the road Sherwood estimated the pair has performed more than a thousand shows. They’re excited to come back on stage for live performances after taking a year-and-a-half break when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closures of live theaters. The comedy duo opened The Scared Scriptless tour just last month. Since the show is interactive in every sense of the word, audience members must be masked and vaccinated to participate.
For someone who makes his living making people laugh, TMT asked Sherwood about the last year when laughter was in short supply—but demand was as high as ever.
“It’s important to laugh,” he said. “I think laughter is healing on so many levels, physically and emotionally. Other than watching streaming things and Zooming with their friends, people haven’t gotten the chance to laugh. Going to a live performance can be such a fun evening from being locked in your house for a year-and-a-half.”
Through green screen technology and a live streaming platform, Mochrie and Sherwood actually performed together during lockdown even while in separate buildings. Modern technology made it seem as if they were performing together in the same venue.
“It was fun to innovate and come up with technology to make that happen,” Sherwood said.
Two years ago, “Whose Line is it Anyway?” celebrated its 30th anniversary. Since Sherwood and Mochrie were original cast members the pair returned to England for command performances at The Royal Albert Hall to celebrate with sold out crowds.
Tickets are still available for The Scared Scriptless Tour’s two performances at Smothers Theater at the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts on Friday.
“For those who are fans of ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ This will be a really fun evening,” Sherwood promised. “It’s a wild, fun evening.” For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Sherwood quipped, “This show will be the second funniest show you ever seen. I only say second for legal reasons. Come see Colin try to be almost as funny as me.”
An overview of Pepperdine University’s health and safety policies can be found at: arts.pepperdine.edu/visit.