Line of Fire

Cleveland theater
Colin Mochrie — the tall, balding Canadian from Whose Line Is It Anyway? — gives credit to Drew Carey for fighting to make the show a success. The network brass, Mochrie says, had no clue how to adapt the format of the hit British improvisational comedy for American audiences. "The studio originally wanted an MTV VJ to host, but Drew stuck to his guns," recalls Mochrie, who's in Akron tonight with fellow funnyman Brad Sherwood to perform An Evening With Colin & Brad. "And they wanted good-looking improvisers, which is a laugh. They were nervous, saying, ‘What do you mean, people are making up stuff?' And Drew has a problem with censorship. We had a censor on the set for every taping, because there was no script. They were there to make sure we didn't destroy America's minds."

The show was canned in 2002, despite a faithful fan base. And going up against ratings champs Friends and Survivor in the heated Thursday-night time slot didn't help. "Apparently, they were very popular shows," quips the 48-year-old Mochrie. "But it was frustrating, because we had come out of the gates so well as a summer show. We got really good reviews, the ratings were great, and I think the network could have built upon that."

Instead, Mochrie's live shows with Sherwood have picked up where Whose Line? left off. During their two-hour performances, the pair coaxes audiences into shouting out random words. Then they create sketches based on them.

And even though Carey isn't a part of it, Mochrie can't wait to perform in his mentor's home state. "My life would not be the same if I had not met Drew," says Mochrie. "Any place that loves Drew is OK in my book. And hopefully, some of that residual love will wash onto me."
Sat., March 4, 8 p.m.

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