Improv master Colin Mochrie returns to Sandy Amphitheater July 13 with new show
Jun 24, 2019 11:31AM
● By Heather Lawrence
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood play the improv game Moving People at a Sandy Amphitheater show in 2017. Mochrie will be back at the Sandy Amphitheater July 13. (Photo courtesy Sandy Amphitheater)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Fans of the series “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” know Colin Mochrie as one of the best improv comedians out there. In 2017, Mochrie and his friend Brad Sherwood did an improv show at the Sandy Amphitheater. So when Sandy’s Community Arts Director Merle Marsh heard Mochrie was bringing another show on the road, he lobbied hard to get Mochrie back here.
“The show in 2017 was fun-ny! Comedy can be a tough sell as a show, but all the feedback we got was that people loved it. So when we heard they were taking their new show out on the road, we knew we wanted it to come here to Sandy,” Marsh said.
Marsh got his wish, and the Hyprov show is coming to Sandy Amphitheater July 13. Mochrie called in from Toronto for an interview with the City Journals and said he’s looking forward to the show and the outdoor venue.
“For me I keep coming back to improv because I enjoy it. It’s the thing I feel most comfortable doing. I’m with people I trust, so I know it’s going to work out. And there’s a lazy factor. I don’t have to memorize things. I get to show up, make up stuff and leave,” Mochrie said.
Mochrie got his start in improv at Second City, an improv and sketch comedy club in Toronto. “My first exposure to improv was a show I saw called theater sports. Then I took an improv workshop and found it was really easy for me. I did Second City and really enjoyed it,” said Mochrie.
Mochrie’s time at Second City came with a bonus: that’s where he met his wife, writer and comedian Debra McGrath. “She hired me at Second City. Now we’ve been married 30 years and we still like each other! We do shows together,” Mochrie said.
Mochrie said his career and fame in the improv world wasn’t anything he expected. “I never thought that I could make a career out of doing improv. No one did that. But then ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ came along. It gave us that opportunity,” Mochrie said.
The television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” started in the UK and was originally hosted by Clive Anderson. Mochrie was in the original UK cast. In 1998 it was developed for American television with host Drew Carey and players Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and a guest. The show was a big success.
“We just celebrated the 30th anniversary of ‘Whose Line’ in the UK. We did a show at the Royal Albert Hall. It was strange to think that I was running around like a chicken and people had paid good money to see that,” Mochrie said.
Mochrie’s new show is a hybrid of improv and hypnosis. His costar Asad Mecci is a self-described master hypnotist who approached Mochrie’s manager a few years ago with the idea to mix hypnotism and improv.
“When my manager called me with the idea, it terrified me enough that I thought, ‘yeah, let’s do it.’ Until we do it, we don’t know what will happen. I asked Asad what might happen if I asked an audience participant a particular question. He’d say, I don’t know,” Mochrie said.
The two workshopped their idea at Second City and got a good response, so then they tried it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and some shows in London.
“We ask for audience volunteers to come up and be hypnotized, and I am always shocked at how many people are willing to put themselves in our care. They rush the stage like we’re offering free drinks or something,” said Mochrie.
Mochrie said it’s also fun to combine the two acts because there are a lot of people who don’t believe in hypnosis and a lot of people who don’t believe in improv. “I always like to talk to the people who participated afterwards and ask them if they remember. They say yes they did, ‘but when you said to do something it sounded like a good idea, so I did it,’” said Mochrie.
Mochrie is excited to return to the Sandy Amphitheatre.
“I remember the show in Sandy in 2017 and I’m looking forward to the July show. It’s a nice challenge to do a show outdoors with hypnotized people. What could go wrong? Well, come and see!” said Mochrie.
“There’s an age limit and to be hypnotized in our show you need to be 18 or older. But it will be good for all ages. There’s no foul language, and I would say it’s at the very least PG,” Mochrie said.
Marsh said this will be a family-friendly night, but for the first time this summer they’ll also be selling beer at all Sandy Amphitheater shows, including this one. “We got requests for a long time and it was recently approved by the city council. So we have a special event license to sell beer, and we’ll have our grill going for food during the show.”
“It’s going to be a great night. You’re outdoors, it’s a great way to spend your summer evening and laugh yourself silly,” said Marsh.