Colin & Brad: Two Man Group
by Jef Burnham
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Join Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? for an evening of live improv comedy at The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in Two Man Group— now available on DVD from Image Entertainment.
It seemed I was in for an arduous 67 minutes at the outset of Two Man Group, when the majority of the laughs in the first 15 came from the hapless audience members roped into participating. I couldn’t have been more wrong, however, as Mochrie and Sherwood up the ante with each game, building to a brilliant final sketch in which the two simply cannot go wrong.
Many of the improv mainstays of Whose Line are accounted for. Mochrie and Sherwood’s sound effects are provided by bystanders, they attempt to respond to one another solely in question-form, and, of course, they end the show in song. But two sketches stick out. The first finds the duo lying on the floor atop a horizontal set dressed like a wall, which is filmed from above so they appear to be standing. The effect of them walking alone is hysterical, never mind their attempts at sharing a bottle of wine or kung fu fighting one another. The second is one that anyone who watches Two Man Group is sure to remember. They call it “The Most Dangerous Improv Game.” Here, the two perform an operatic scene of little consequence barefoot and blindfolded. The element of danger comes from the 250 mouse traps dotting the floor of the stage like a mine field and the 20 additional traps hung from the ceiling at crotch and face levels. This single element provides for so many laughs that it doesn’t even matter what they’re saying— or in this case, singing. As with the best of Whose Line (especially the UK version for me), I laughed until my face hurt.
A note here on content for those familiar with the generally-family friendly Whose Line Is It Anyway? While there is most certainly no explicit foul language (although innuendo and mispronounced vulgarities abound), there is indeed a great deal of sexual content in the dialogue of the sketches— increasingly more so as the show goes on in fact. So parents be warned.
Special features include an interview in which the duo riffs on Inside the Actor’s Studio, with Sherwood as “James Teabag” interviewing Mochrie. Additionally, the duo provide us with “The DOs and DON’Ts of Improv” in a supplementary interview. Both of these short features are very funny.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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