A veteran of countless improvisational comedy shows, including both the British and American versions of the television series, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Brad Sherwood is a man who always thinks on his feet.
Sherwood makes no bones about how much he loves improvisational comedy. Not for him the safety net of scripted performance; he needs the thrill of potential disaster to keep him interested.
“I do have an obsession with it,” he tells us. “Well, first of all, I have an obsession with making people laugh, sort of like how a vampire needs blood, and there’s something about improv that to me is more exciting than any other type of comedy, because you are literally only going out there with your wits and trying to synthesise all the information and trying to come up with something funny. And there’s pretty much nothing you could do that is more dangerous – it flies in the face of all other types of artforms where you’re practicing and rehearsing.”
Perth gets a chance to find out this month, when Sherwood and fellow Whose Line Is It Anyway? veteran, Colin Mochrie, bring their live show to town. The pair have been working together so long, it’s understandable to think that they have each others’ moves down pat by now.
“Sometimes we do feel like we’re psychically linked,” Sherwood admits. “But the thing is we’re always trying to trip each other up. We’re not looking to stay on some groove where we both know what exactly we’re doing for a long period on stage; we’re trying to throw obstacles at each other to see how the other reacts to it, because that’s the fun of it. It kind of goes counter to every other sport or artform. You really always, when you think you should go left, try to go right and see where that takes you.”
Fans of the TV series should be familiar with the basic format of the stage show – although by its very nature, the show is anything but predictable. “We have come up with a bunch of different games, some of which are specifically games from Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and then others are adapted for us to play because there’s only two of us and we don’t have a moderator. Sometimes we’ll give the moderating duties to the audience members or make them in charge of giving us a lot of information through the scene. So it’s sort of a hybrid, two man, live version of what used to have four people, a moderator and producers running the show. It’s really fun.”
As a special treat, Sherwood and Mochrie will be road testing new material. “Sometime after we get back from Australia we’re going to be shooting our second comedy DVD special,” Sherwood explains. “So we may be trying out some new games while we’re in Australia for this new DVD, because we don’t want to do any of the same games that we played in the first one – so it should be scary!”
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood appear at The Astor Theatre on Tuesday, October 15. Tickets are available through showticketing.com.au
_ TRAVIS JOHNSON