After gaining notoriety for his role on the improv comedy show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”, Brad Sherwood joined up with fellow cast-mate Colin Mochrie to bring live improv to cites around the world. Now in their 11th year of touring together, the hilarious duo is hitting Celebrity Theatre on December 5. We caught up with Sherwood to chat about how he got started, what to expect from the show and to get his advice for future improvisers.
College Times: How did you get started in improv?
Sherwood: Well, I got started in improv when I moved out to L.A. to be an actor and I was working in TV production and a guy said, “You should come check out this improv class.” So I did and it was kind of like the heavens opened up and someone said, “This is what you were meant to do!” So I just never stopped and I got with a bunch of different groups and performed in clubs and theaters all over the city and was doing like five or six shows a week and then “Whose Line” came along.
How close to “Whose Line is it Anyway?” can fans expect your show to be?
Well, you know, we play some games from “Whose Line,” and then we play a bunch of other games that we’ve come up with. It’s probably even more interactive than “Whose Line” because on “Whose Line,” a lot of the suggestions were written by producers and then read by whoever was hosting the show and in this show, every suggestion that we get is from the audience and we bring people up for most of the games in the show.
Do you notice a big difference in audiences from city to city?
Not really. There’s something universal about cities. Especially with the way we do comedy is to sort of invite this audience to become collaborative with us: we bring them on stage, we use all their suggestions. So we’re working together . . . we’re taking the pulse of exactly what they want to see and then going along with them through that journey . . . That’s kind of a special thing when you have a relationship with an audience like that.
What are you looking forward to about performing in Phoenix?
We’ve been to Phoenix a couple of times and we love it. And I love performing at the Celebrity Theatre because it’s in the round, which is always a fun extra—I don’t want to call it obstacle—but it is kind of like making it work because everyone’s all the way around you so we have to keep that in mind at all times. It creates a different energy in the room that is fun for us when it’s not like a regular theater.
What would you say to any of our readers that want to go into improv or comedy?
You’ve just got to get good at it by doing it. It’s kind of like getting good at a sport. You have to use those brain muscles repetitively. Not that you’re doing the exact same thing every time, but you’re getting your instincts going. And that kind of goes against what everyone does in normal life. Most people get good at something—like playing an instrument—by playing the notes over and over again, repetitively until it becomes second nature. In improv, you have to get good at your instincts but you don’t want to do the same thing over and over again.
Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood, Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, 602.267.1600, ext. 1, celebritytheatre.com, Friday, December 5, 6 p.m., $35-$50