There wasn’t a straight face in the house during the sold-out performance of “An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood” Saturday at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC).
Mochrie and Sherwood are both comedians and recurring cast members of the Emmy-nominated show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Also known as “The Colin & Brad Show,” the night’s comedy performance was mostly made up on the spot, using games as basic guidelines. This style of theater is called improvisation, or improv, and is Mochrie’s favorite type of show.
“We make (the audience) have a good time and make them forget we are making this all up,” Mochrie said.
Sherwood said the performance is like a live version of ‘Whose Line.’
“It’s a lot of fun because it’s just the two of you to make it all work,” Sherwood said. “We’re in charge of the whole thing.”
The comedic duo has been doing the two-man show since 2003 and has toured all over the country. While he jokingly said he didn’t particularly like Sherwood, Mochrie said the two have never fought or had a “cross word” with each other. Sherwood described their show as “fun, silly, goofy, human nature comedy.”
“I always feel safe on stage (with Mochrie),” Sherwood said. “He’s always going to make me laugh.”
Mochrie said he and Sherwood make a list of games to play before the show. Then Mochrie beats Sherwood at cards, and this sums up their preparation.
“We just sit around and play cards,” Sherwood said. “Hearts, gin, whist … old grandma games.”
The night of the show, they walked — or in Sherwood’s case, pranced — onto the stage after their introduction and bowed.
They asked how the audience was doing, which was returned with a cheer.
“Colin, they are doing ‘Wooo!’” Sherwood said, and asked if the audience knew what they were doing that night because they were “wondering the very same thing.”
With surprise, Sherwood noticed the Forbes Pipe Organ and commented on its large size, having not seen it when he first came in. It became a running joke for the rest of the show, and the two both made puns about San Luis Obispo, including “San Luis Nabisco” and “San Luis Opiscopal,” much to the audience’s delight.
First, Mochrie and Sherwood had the audience practice for the show by yelling out answers to their questions, as audience participation was a big part of their improv. Mochrie said he prefers if the audience comes prepared with a little thought, so they don’t talk about “proctologists and gynecologists all the time.”
When asked whether taboo subjects are content for the show, Mochrie said they try to keep the show family friendly because it appeals to people from 8 to 80-years-old, and stay away from subjects like cancer and recent disasters. Sherwood said the routine doesn’t cover politics like other comedians because of how “polarized” the world has become.
“Politically, we lost our sense of humor as a country,” he said.
In the show, one of the longest skits was called “Interrogation,” in which Sherwood had to get Mochrie to confess to a crime by dropping clues without saying the actual crime. The twist was Mochrie didn’t know what he did (since the audience came up with two crimes), where it occurred and the two pieces of evidence he left, while he waited in the lobby. Sherwood asked the audience to come up with suggestions, and try to be as random and unique as possible, so it would be hard for Mochrie to guess.
At the end, Mochrie had defeathered a pigeon and spray painted a water tower with a picture of Richard Nixon smoking a bong in Montaña de Oro. He also left behind a fish lasso — something Sherwood said he didn’t know existed — and a Cabbage Patch Kid.
“I can’t believe he guessed Montaña de Oro,” said San Luis Obispo native Steven Simily, who suggested adding Nixon with a bong to the scenario. “That was kind of impressive. Brad kept saying, ‘This is the best gig ever!’ and Colin kept telling him to stop, and that game was the part where it finally caught up to them.”
Sherwood said the San Luis Obispo audience was a “weird wormhole in reality.” During the game, he made comments about how Mochrie was being “as still as a statue,” describing his second crime as “historical, in a Cheech and Chong way.”
One of the hardest parts was trying to get Mochrie to guess Montaña de Oro. Sherwood got him to decode it by breaking it up by syllables and giving him clues based on the syllables.
For instance, “Mon” was described as what Bob Marley would call his male friends. The crowd exploded into applause when Mochrie finally got the word after a lot of heavy sighs and rubbing his face.
The last game performed was described as the most dangerous, because it involved being blindfolded and barefoot while treading across a stage filled with 100 live mouse traps. This created a “veritable minefield” to work in, Sherwood said.
Dubbed the “Alphabet Game,” it consisted of the duo starting each sentence with a word starting with a letter in alphabetical order. The audience unanimously chose the letter ‘Q’ to start and thus began a “very eloquent, screaming Shakespeare play.” Midway through the game, Mochrie removed his blindfold and started tossing live mouse traps at Sherwood, even getting his groin at one point.
“(During the show) I laughed so hard … I was squirming in my chair,” kinesiology senior Erin Best said. “I could not sit still.”
Bob Dawdy of Southern California said he thought Mochrie and Sherwood were presumably intelligent people.
“We were commenting on how bright those guys are to be able to come up with the stuff that they do,” Dawdy said.
Afterward, Mochrie and Sherwood put on matching black and white slippers to sing an improvised farewell.
“We made it up, because we could,” they sang. “We’re just that friggin’ good. We love you, San Luis Nabisco.”