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The Spectrum sits down with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood

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Before they took the stage at the Center for the Arts Friday night, “Whose Line is it Anyway?” stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood sat down with The Spectrum. The two-man improv group talked about advice they’d give college students, why they like improv over standup and what it’s like being on tour.

The Spectrum: Do you have any profound life advice for college students?

Colin Mochrie: Just chill out.

There are so many pressures you face when you’re in college, when you leave college, getting a job and setting up your life. Looking back now, I wish I was more relaxed about things and was able to take things as they came.

One of the best side effects of being an improviser is you learn to go with the flow a lot more. And times when you think, ‘Oh, I could never do that,’ you find that you can if you just give yourself a chance.

There’s a rule in improv where you just [accept what comes] and build on it. It’s something I think we’ve tried to put into our lives and it’s led to a lot of great experiences and things that I never thought I would do. Just be open to everything. Try to keep fear down to a minimum. Or, if you have fear, use it to your advantage.

Brad Sherwood: My advice would be not to take life too seriously and to find things in your life that you’re passionate about and pursue those, as long as they’re making you happy. Because you can pursue things that you’re obsessed with that aren’t rewarding and then you find yourself feeling like you’re wasting your life. It’s OK to abandon that and then go towards something else that you’re passionate about.

TS: Where do you see yourselves in five years?

BS: The best part of this job is that it’s a fun way to make money. I love performing live and I love making people laugh. This is the combination of those two things and what I do best, which is improv. And artistically, the show never gets boring because every night is like opening night: You never know what’s going to happen.

TS: Was there ever a time when it was hard for you to stay comedic?

CM: Sometimes life does get in the way and you go through a dark period, but personally, I’ve never [gone] longer than three years being depressed.

BS: Really?

CM: No. You find ways [to stay comedic]. A lot of times some of [that pain] fuels your humor. So for a while, you’re humor becomes a little bitter, but it’s still an outlet. And it’s probably way cheaper than a psychiatrist.

TS: Do you feel like people in your everyday life expect you to be funny all the time?

CM: When somebody comes up and they’re a fan of the show, there’s always a sense of disappointment because they want you to do a joke or something. But we don’t “do jokes.”

BS: We’re certainly not “on” in our everyday life. But because we both come from a theater background, the majority of our peer group tends to be vibrant people with big personalities that are passionate and creative. That’s one of the good things about coming from a theater background or being in the arts.

TS: When you’re on tour, does that mean you’re away from your family for long periods of time?

CM: We usually only work on weekends. We worked it out so we spend most of the week with our families.

BS: We’re home more than we’re gone. It’s tough for a lot of standup’s because they [perform in] comedy clubs and they have shows Thursday through Sunday. They’re hardly ever home.

CM: The travel kills me. I can’t imagine going months on end, going to airports and flying.

BS: You can see how bands break up because when you’ve been together for three months on a tour bus, even the nicest people in the world start to hate each other. Those long hours being confined in each other space for that long …

TS: Maybe that’s because people in rock bands aren’t always comedians who can find the humor in the situation.

CM: Or they don’t have the right drugs.

BS: Don’t do drugs.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com

This interview was edited for length.


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