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.
Comedians Colin Mochrie (left) and Brad Sherwood's "Stream of Consciousness" live improv show will be presented via Zoom Saturday, Oct. 24 and Friday, Oct. 30 courtesy of Dayton Live. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
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.