‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ duo prepares funny virtual improv for Dayton

Comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” fame have partnered for “Stream of Consciousness,” an all-new live improv show presented via Zoom Friday, Oct. 30, presented by Dayton Live.

The PG-rated family show, which began performances in late August, seeks to capture the same irreverent, unscripted fun from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” such as “Sound FX” and “One Word Expert.” The duo has performed throughout North America as a two-man stage show since 2002. They’ve also performed internationally at such venues as the Sydney Opera House and London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Mochrie said he feels fortunate to have the opportunity to uplift audiences once more with Sherwood by his side.

“It’s going to be a while before we can get back to any sort of normalcy, so this show has been a godsend,” said Mochrie by phone from his home in Toronto. “We also do some scenes with audience members, which is always the wild card in the show.”

The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35. Capacity is limited. The show is recommended for ages 10 and older. For more information or to register, visit daytonlive.org.

In advance of the show, Mochrie, 62, shares details including working within the confines of Zoom and highlighting what he’s learned during the pandemic.

Q: How did the Zoom format change your approach to improv?

A: Early on, Brad and I found that when we were working on it, that it couldn’t just be a filming of our stage show. Our stage show features direct interaction with the audience but when we’re doing it on Zoom, you’re in a screen mentality. It’s like people are watching television so everything has to be shorter, faster and snappier. So, when we realized what (we had to accomplish), we had a real creative burst and figured out ways to create an improvised sketch show. We also have technology to create different backgrounds and strange special effects.

Q: Have you grown accustomed to readjusting your artistry to suit Zoom?

A: It’s been fun but also weird doing a comedy show in which you hear no laughter and you just have to assume or hope what you’re doing is pretty funny. Brad and I have come to realize just how big of a (role) the audience is in our shows not only in regards to supplying information but (having a feel) for what we’re doing. It was strange having that aspect pulled away from us but we learned to readjust. And the first couple of shows we did were particularly concentrated on the technical aspects. Working from different computers, we had to (fine tune) our relationship to each other on screen but the more we did it, the more those technical things became second nature in order for us to get back to the fun of improv and having fun with each other and making each other laugh.

Q: How would you describe the audience participation via Zoom?

A: People have jumped right into it. I would think it would be odd if you were watching the show on Zoom and all of a sudden you see yourself come up on screen (alongside) Brad and I and we’re acting with you. But I think everyone has a little ham in them and this is their chance to get it out. And in a way, the Zoom format is more freeing than the stage show. When you bring people on stage there are really bright lights and an audience in front of them but there’s more freedom when you’re in your living room which perhaps makes people feel safer.

Q: Do you foresee incorporating any elements of your Zoom show whenever you resume stage performances?

A: We were initially worried that part of our improv would be taken away due to the physical aspect especially not having a large stage in which to interact. But we’ve managed to keep it interesting and have thought about incorporating more technology into the stage show such as the sound effects. This has really been a learning experience. Our creative output has been amazing these past couple of months. It’s almost like creating our first show together 18 years ago.

Q: What have you learned about comedy or yourself during the pandemic?

A: Personally, I hoped to never retire and to continue to work but during the pandemic, I realized I can relax and just spend time with my family, which is important. Also, I hope people remember how important the arts are. When everything was shutting down, people immediately turned to the arts whether it was comedy specials or musical concerts or simply going to Netflix to watch old shows you grew up with just to get some comfort. Sometimes the arts are forgotten among everything else. The arts really are an essential service.

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