Brad Sherwood talks Whose Line and the martial art of Improv
Whose Line is it Anyway, the show where everything is made up, and the points don’t matter. The show that has also been on the air long enough for every generation of audiences and family members to have some fond memories. This show was a reprieve during my teenage years, though of course, it wasn’t available on standard television channels, so I recall sneaking off to my friend’s house a few blocks over, whose family paid for Foxtel. Many late afternoons and nights were spent doubled over on the lounge with the Comedy channel playing episode after episode.
So, I am super excited for the live version of Whose Line coming to Brisbane! That’s right, improv fans, Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood, and Greg Proops are coming to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Concert Hall for one night only. The trio is teaming up to bring some fantastic improvisational comedy to one lucky group of Brisbane audience members.
I had a chat with Brad Sherwood to talk about the show, improv, and the trio’s expectations for their Aussie tour.
TCI: So, Brad, how does it feel to be back to Whose Line is it Anyway?
Brad: It’s great! The show has been with four different networks and on and off for almost thirty years. It’s kind of amazing! There were breaks … [but] from when it started to now, it’s almost thirty years.
TCI: And how’s working with Colin Mochrie and Greg Proops?
Brad: I’ve been working with both of them for over thirty years, so I trust them explicitly on stage, and they’re both hilarious. It’s fun to work with people that you have such a long history with. It makes it that much more relaxed in a situation where you’ve got enough to worry about.
TCI: Yes; I can imagine improv is an unpredictable performance. You don’t always know how it will be received.
Brad: No; you’re never sure. No matter how good at improvising you are, because you’re making it up every night, there’s just no guarantees. There’s nothing written, so you can’t relax. And you have to play at the top of your game every single time.
TCI: Are you and the team looking forward to bringing the show to Aussie audiences?
Brad: Yes! Colin and I were there six or seven years ago, and we had a great time. We’re looking forward to coming back, and we’re also going to New Zealand too.
TCI: Speaking of Aussies. How do you think Australian humour compares to British or American? Will you need to tailor the show in any way?
Brad: I think there’s a certain common thread. What we do is kind of silly and goofy. It’s not overly political [or] super topical. What we’re doing, we’re getting suggestions from the audience, some of which we may know something about [and] others might be local references we may not know anything about, so the fun is in us taking our attempt, our stab, at trying to figure out what they’re talking about. And if we’re dead wrong, that’s probably going to be funny anyway.
TCI: Can fans of the show expect to see any of their favourite games on the night?
Brad: We don’t know. We’re going to get there, and it will have to do with the three of us and what we feel like playing on any given night. We’ll look at the stage [in] the venue that we [are] in that night, [as] it may change which games we want to do. We haven’t even had a discussion yet about what games we’re going to play.
TCI: So, it’s entirely improvised?
Brad: Oh, entirely! We’ll be playing a set list of maybe six or seven games on the night, but the content of all of them will be started with suggestions from the audience. We’re going to be saying and doing things that we’ve never done in our lives.
TCI: How daunting! How do you prepare for a show like this?
Brad: Well, you get good at improv by just doing improv. It’s kind of like a martial art. You prepare and get good at the muscle memory of defending yourself, but in a real fight, using a martial art, you don’t know where the attack is going to come from. You have to be ready for every possible permeation of what the other person might try to do. So, it [improv] is kind of the comedy, intellectual version of a martial art. You’re defending yourself from all the ideas that are being thrown at you.
TCI: I love that explanation; it gives us an insight into how improv works and how it feels when you’re up on stage. Now, Brad. I have to ask. Whose Line is it Anyway, the show where everything is made up, and the points don’t matter… be honest. Did you ever keep a tally of your points?
Brad: You know, someone did. I saw it on Twitter once. Some lunatic went through all of the shows and tallied up the points for everyone. I think Colin might be in first place or Ryan and then the other one, and then probably Wayne. But you know, a couple of times people got a million points, which really throws it off for those of us that have just worked hard year in and year out, chipping away at a hundred points a time. It’s not that I’m bitter about it, but I do think that sometimes hosts are a little reckless with their points.
TCI: Just a bit! Do you have any last comments about the show coming up in Brisbane?
Brad: Just that we hope people come out to see it. Seeing improv on tv is really fun, but when you see it live, you get to see truly that it is being made up. It is being created in front of you. There’s no tricks; there’s no gimmicks; there’s no trap door. Most people that love Whose Line love the live shows even more, because it just seems even that much more of a magic act.
TCI: Thanks for your time, Brad!
Tickets are available now via the link below, so grab some friends and make a night out of this sure-to-be-hilarious show!
What: Colin, Brad & Greg from Whose Line is it Anyway?
When: Sunday 18 November 2018, 8pm
Where: Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Price: $81.90 ($7.20 transaction fee her transaction)