Article from Barrie Advance – August 28, 2013

Mochrie brings improv to Barrie festival

Submitted photo

Colin Mochrie headlines the first Barrie International Comedy Festival. The comedian performs Sept. 19 at the Georgian Theatre.
Barrie Advance

Atlantic City, New York and Barrie.

These are just three of the stops Colin Mochrie is making on his recent tour.

Mochrie performs Sept. 19 as part of the Barrie International Comedy Festival, presented by Talk is Free Theatre.

“It’s going to be improvised. It’s going to be heavily audience participation because I can’t improvise on my own,” he said. “I will be bringing people up on stage and making them work. I take good care of them. I never make fun of them. Part of improv is making sure the people you are working with are having fun.”

Mochrie is promising a funny show, though he doesn’t really know what he’s going to be doing yet.

“Basically, the preparation is making sure you are going on stage with absolutely nothing and feeling relaxed about that,” he said. “There is always the five minutes before the show when I get the nerves and I realize I have nothing for these people. Then the minute I walk on stage, I’m home.”

But Mochrie admits he may never have found his home if it weren’t for peer pressure.

“I was a bookworm. I was very quiet. I wanted to be a marine biologist. Then, I was dared by a friend to try out for a school play in Grade 11. I got my first laugh and that changed everything.”

He switched to drama, went out for school plays and attended theatre school in Vancouver.

“I saw a demonstration of improv and thought, this is perfect for a lazy guy — you don’t have learn anything. Then that turned into this. It still amazes me that I am working at something that wasn’t an occupation when I was growing up.”

Mochrie is in demand. The comedian is best known for his work with Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which just got picked up for 24 more episodes.

“The hardest part with Whose Line is trying to work around everyone’s schedule, Wayne (Brady) is on Let’s Make a Deal, Ryan (Stiles) is on Two and a Half Men, I’m on the road. It’s getting the scheduling together, probably in November or in the New Year,” he said.

But up first is the release of his first book, Not Quite the Classics. The book hits shelves in October.

“The reason I improvise is that I don’t particularly want to work hard and writing is hard work,” Mochrie said. “I employed an improv game called first line and last line, where the audience supplies you with the first line of the scene and the last line and you do everything in the middle, working toward that last line. It’s 12 short stories and every story begins with a line from a famous book.”

As for the future, Mochrie said he’s always open to doing more film roles, continuing to tour with Whose Line alumni Brad Sherwood and working on a show with his wife Debra McGrath.

“We have fun together and we work well together. My agent actually booked us for four shows last year without actually talking to us first,” he said. “We came up with a combination of improv and talking about our lives. We are trying to find time to work on that and make it something bigger.”

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