Laughter filled the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom as two veterans of improv comedy brought their show to Ohio State.
“If you are wondering what we are going to be doing here tonight, well, Colin (Mochrie) and I are wondering the same thing,” said comedian Brad Sherwood to the sold-out crowd.
Sherwood and Mochrie performed their two-man improvisation tour for students Monday night. The men assured the audience that despite some rumors, their improv is not planned in advance and they would be making up everything as they went.
“It is our intention to prove to you without a shadow of a doubt, at no point do Brad and I have any idea what is going on,” Mochrie said to the audience.
The duo was ready to tackle the college-aged audience, having performed at universities previously during their 11-year tour together.
“College students just have an extra rowdy energy on top of just a regular energy of a crowd. You guys are younger, so you’re more hyper. Other than that, the laughter is the same, the reference levels are fairly similar,” said Sherwood in an interview with The Lantern prior to the show.
This year’s return of the show the duo is known for, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” which aired from 1998-2006 before returning in July, means a younger generation of adults ready to laugh at the improv veterans’ antics.
“It helps our tour getting exposure again and getting a whole new generation of fans out,” Mochrie said in the interview.
Laughter filled the ballroom throughout nearly the entire set, and without an official host, the scenes could go on as long as they were still funny. That is a big difference from the regulated television series because there are no commercial breaks, Mochrie said.
The duo called on audience members for suggestions and participation. Six audience members where selected for a Mad Libs-style act in which they completed Sherwood and Mochrie’s sentences as they acted out a scene as two knights on a quest for a magic wagon wheel.
T.J. Jones, a first-year in education, was one of the audience members selected for the bit.
“I want to obtain the wagon wheel because it has the ability to…,” Mochrie started.
“Give you hair,” Jones said, finishing the sentence. The audience roared with laughter as Mochrie slyly grinned at the reference to his balding head.
“It’s for my uncle,” Mochrie replied. “I’ve never felt the need for the powers.”
Jones said he had been anticipating a comment about Mochrie’s baldness, something he had seen watching “Whose Line” as a kid.
“I was waiting for someone to say something about his head,” Jones said. “I used to watch Ryan Stiles make fun of him for it a lot. I have probably seen every single episode 20 times.”
Jones said it was great to be selected to participate in the scene.
“I act and I love improv. It was so cool to be up there with everyone,” he said.
Mochrie and Sherwood closed their act by performing blindfolded while walking barefoot around the stage filled with 100 set mousetraps. The men’s pain was evident as they crawled across the stage, their fingers and toes snapped time after time, but the audiences’ collective laughter never seemed to cease at their angst.
“My favorite part was when Colin threw a mouse trap at Brad and it got him right in the crotch. That was absolutely hilarious. I could not believe it,” said Danny Kerr, a fourth-year in communication.
Mochrie said he and Sherwood love these types of acts that get a little strange and take them out of their comfort zones.
“I like the ones that scare me the most on that given night,” Sherwood said. “The ones (where) we feel like we are really in the unknown and we are making each other laugh and it goes really goofy. The more bizarre it goes and starts to unravel and we manage to keep it going, that’s my favorite.”
The duo is happy to be able to do something they love, and Mochrie said they could not have imagined they would get to do this when they were in college.
“This wasn’t an occupation when we were growing up. So we’ve been incredibly lucky that we can do this thing that we love doing,” Mochrie said. “The show came along and started to showcase that and gave us careers.”
OUAB did not disclose the cost of bringing Mochrie and Sherwood to campus.
Shelby Lum contributed to this story.