For over a decade Colin Mochrie has made us laugh till it hurts on the improv based-comedy, WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? The iconic show returns tonight for it’s eleventh season. I caught up with the talented performer about how he got his start in comedy, his time at Second City, and working with Wayne Brady and Ryan Stiles for so many years.
You’ve been doing comedy for a while now, what made you want to pursue it in the first place?
In high school I got my first laugh in the school play and that was pretty much the moment that made me want to do it forever. It just sort of became a drug I had to have. So I just kept at it until I made a career out of it.
You spent a lot of time at Second City, what was that whole experience like?
It was great it was a great learning experience. We got the chance to improvise every night, the chance to do an entire sketch show, and you got the chance to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses were, while working with different kinds of people with different points of view. One of the things I always hated was having to talk directly to the audience, that was part of the Second City experience while you were setting up improv scenes you had to stall for a while. I actually got over my fear of that and I learned a lot, it truly is like a comedy college.
WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? Was on the air for a long time, then went off, then came back on the air. How was coming back after all that time and working with everyone again?
It’s great, it’s like we didn’t miss a step. Between the time the show went off and went back on we constantly worked together throughout those years. It’s nice to have that back again, we always have fun, and the shooting schedule is pretty relaxed. It’s always kind of fresh for us when we see each other and it’s always a lot of fun. My first WHOSE LINE was in 1990 and to see that we’re in 2015 and still doing it, that’s amazing.
Are there any specific jokes that stand out to you as your favorite, or jokes that people always come up to you and say they loved?
People always bring up the scene we did with Richard Simmons I think it’s probably one of the funnies scenes we did because he was so committed and so into it. The scene went well, but one of the beauties and curses of improv is once you’ve done a scene it’s kind of gone forever.
How has it been working with Wayne Brady and Ryan Stiles all of these years?
They’re okay. (Laughs) Ryan and I grew up together in Vancouver so I’ve worked with him for over thirty years. Both of those guys are great improvisers and the most important thing is they’re both fun to work with and I think that’s part of the WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY appeal, the audience could see that we were happy together and that sort of became contagious. It’s nice after all of these years that they can surprise me with the things they come up with. It’s always just exciting to get back in the saddle and see what they’re working on.
You guys have had a lot of notable guests over the years, if you could have any one on the show who would it be?
I’d love to have people like Louis C.K. people who I’m sure would never come on the show (Laughs) because why would they? They’re doing fine by themselves. But there are a lot of people I’d love to have, people from Second City or just good improvisers that don’t have the luxury of being on a television show. There are a lot of great people out there!
What keeps you wanting to do the show year after year?
It’s fun cause we never do the same thing it’s always fresh. We’ve been doing this for twelve years and most rock groups break up after five. All of our shows are completely different, we don’t have to go out there and do our greatest hits everything depends on what the audience gives us or what the writers of the show pick for the scenarios. It’s a really short shooting period so we never get tired of each other, we always get excited that we get to do those six tapings with each other. It’s always just fun; I guess when it stops being fun, that’s when we’ll stop.
What shows are you loving on TV right now?
MODERN FAMILY is something I watch regularly. VEEP! Usually all of my television comes years after all of the shows have been finished, I catch up on DVD. Those two though are probably the ones I’m into the most right now.
Watch Colin tonight on the season premiere of WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? on The CW.