Category Archives: Movies & TV

Whose Line stars coming to New Bedford for night of ‘goofy fun’

Colin & Brad
Colin & Brad

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

 “We like to say it’s like a live version of Whose Line without the tall guy, black guy, and rich guy,” said comedian Colin Mochrie, formerly of the Emmy-nominated improvisational show Whose Line is it Anyway? 

Mochrie is explaining the side-splitting show he’s doing with Brad Sherwood, another Whose Line star, as the funny boys have teamed up for the “Colin & Brad: Two Man Group” tour. The comedians will be visiting the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford on Feb. 23. The fun begins at 8 p.m.

The dynamic duo have been doing shows as a pair for nine years, performing anywhere from 50 to 100 shows each year. With more than 20 years as comedians apiece, that’s a whole lot of laughs.

“It’s actually more interactive than the television show was,” Mochrie said. “Every scene starts with a suggestion from the audience and we have audience members on stage with us for about 80 percent of the show. It’s just a wacky free-for-all.”

Sherwood agreed.

“We basically hand the car keys to the audience and they drive us wherever they want us to go,” he said. “We have no idea what the people are going to do when we bring them on stage or what their suggestions will be. I have no idea what Colin’s going to say during the entire show and he has no idea what I’m going to say. Everything is going wrong and that’s what makes the show right.”

And that’s the way they like it. Mochrie recalls a time when an intoxicated woman in the crowd began walking down the isle and shouting at them to do a song about menopause.

“Brad immediately went into a rap song about menopause, so it worked out,” he said. “Those little hiccups make the show interesting.”

But picking topics for sketches, as well as participants from the crowd, can be tricky, said Mochrie. While they don’t want someone who is going to try to take over the scene and use it as their audition, they also don’t want someone to be nervous and too quiet.

“It’s always a crapshoot,” he said. “There are times you pick someone who’s drunk, which makes it difficult explaining the games to them, but I can’t think of any time we’ve been destroyed by audience members. We take very good care of the audience that comes up because they are there to help us. We try to make it as fun as we can. Usually the scenes where we can get ourselves into the most trouble are the ones we have the most fun.”

As noted, Mochrie and Sherwood agree that not having anything planned is the beauty of the show. Typically, they fly in the day of the show, get together for sound check and create a list of games they’re going to play. That’s pretty much it for preparation.

“But once we’re out there it somehow always works,” Mochrie said. “I’m not sure how, but it does. It keeps you on edge and makes you work a little harder. It’s the closest to death defying as I’ll get.”

Sherwood added, “It always plays out pretty darn well because we’re always in a state of, ‘Oh, my God. What’s going to happen?’ It’s always exciting.”

Mochrie and Sherwood first became acquainted in the early 1990s while appearing on the British version of Whose Line is it Anyway? They continued being co-workers and friends through the show’s eight-year run on ABC, a stint that earned the show an Emmy nomination.

“It was the best gig in the world,” Mochrie said. “Getting the chance to work with world-class improvisers, British and American, was just fun. This wasn’t a career when I was a kid and I’m still shocked that I get to do it and am getting paid for it. Whose Line made that possible.”

Sherwood, who earned a degree in acting from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, got the idea to do a two-man show with Mochrie shortly after Whose Line stopped filming in 2004. He had been performing as a two-man group with a friend before approaching Mochrie, also a professionally trained actor, as he graduated from Studio 58, a theatre training school located in Vancouver.

“We decided to give it a try,” Sherwood said. “We did a two week tour and it worked so well that we never stopped doing it.”

Their DVD, Two Man Group: Live and Dangerous Comedy, hit stores in 2011.

The same year, the “Whose Line?” cast was reunited in Vegas for Drew Carey’s Improv-a-Ganza, a series that aired for one season on the Game Show Network.

“It’s always nice to get together with everybody,” Morchrie said. “It’s really a good group. Everybody gets along so well.”

In addition to Whose Line, Mochrie and Sherwood have worked on other projects: Mochrie has been heavily involved in independent and small movies. He is an affiliate of The Movie Co-op, a Canadian venture to help produce great Canadian movies funded and run by the artists themselves.

Of course, he has appeared in commercials as the Nabisco Snack Fairy. He plans to release a book later this year.

For Sherwood, who in the last fifteen years has guest starred on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno more than 100 times, and made several appearances on VH-1’s I Love The 80’s’ & 90’s, and Talk Soup, recently served as a guest announcer on the Price is Right.

“I did it for a month and it was really cool because I grew up watching the show,” Sherwood said. “Saying, ‘come on down’ or ‘a new car,’ was just crazy. It was like being a part of TV history.”

When he’s not onstage, Sherwood is playing guitar. He said while he likes hard rock and country, he enjoys writing folk music in his spare time. He also likes to sample Mochrie’s food, as Mochrie loves to cook.

“My wife hasn’t cooked since 1990,” Mochrie said. “I find it really relaxing. I wake up and the first thing I think of is, ‘Ok. What are we having for dinner?’ I plan what I’m going out to buy. I’m always learning new stuff and experimenting with cooking.”

But for the most part, they just want to make people laugh.

“Come see the show,” Mochrie said. “It’s just goofy fun.”

Tickets, which range in price from $45.50 to $47.50, can be purchased at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center Box Office, located at 684 Purchase Street in New Bedford, Mass., by phone at 508-994-2900, or online at www.zeiteiron.org.

Film festival creates quite a buzz

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

The first annual Buzzards Bay Film Festival, set to debut Nov. 9th and run through Nov. 11th in Falmouth and New Bedford, Mass., is a tribute to the Bay itself, its watershed, as well as the 360,000 people who live in surrounding cities and towns. The Bay is a 233-square mile estuary in Southeastern Mass. between the mainland shore, western Cape Cod, and the Elizabeth Islands.

“It’s going to be really fun and unique,” said Festival Director Tom Gidwitz. “It’s hard to bring all these different communities together, so this is a way to become more of a unit. We share the same stories in many ways.”

The event is part of the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s 25th Anniversary celebration and offers viewers science fiction, documentaries, animation, and the long-anticipated local premiere of the feature film Fairhaven. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will be dedicated to the Coalition, a membership-supported, non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, sustainable use and enjoyment of the Bay and its watershed.

The Festival will kick off Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, which is located at 68 Main Street in Falmouth, and continue at New Bedford’s Gallery X at169 William Street at 8 PM, Saturday, Nov. 10th.

“They show edgier stuff there and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Gidwitz said of Gallery X.

The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center at 684 Purchase Street in New Bedford will host a day of films Sunday, Nov. 11th beginning at 11 a.m. with the 1968 science fiction classic, The Green Slime, and continue with an afternoon of other works. The day will wrap up with Fairhaven at 8 p.m.

“The Zeiterion is a big, beautiful theater and it’s a great place to show features,” Gidwitz said.

According to a press release, Fairhaven tells the story of three thirty-something friends who reunite in their hometown, a homecoming that forces them to reassess their friendship, as well as themselves. It stars Chris Messina of Vicky Christina Barcelona and Six Feet Under; Rich Sommer of Mad Men; Sarah Paulson of Mud and Deadwood; as well as the film’s writer and director Tom O’Brien, who grew up in Medford, but spent much of his time in Fairhaven, as his mother lived there for nearly a decade.

“That’s what inspired the screenplay,” O’Brien said in an e-mail interview. “I feel really great about bringing the film back to what inspired it. It completes the circle of the entire process for us.”
O’Brien plays Jon, a former high school football star and one-time college athlete, who feels dissatisfied with life and ends up back in Fairhaven, where he reunites with two old friends. It isn’t long before “old dreams and simmering resentments” come to the surface.

The film also stars a number of area residents.

“The production was made possible by the people of Fairhaven and the surrounding towns opening their homes and businesses to shoot in and volunteering to do everything from make lunch to be extras in the movie,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien went on to say that it felt much like a “grass roots community project” and that he is pleased that people have responded “warmly” to the film.  He noted that many of the locals told him they feel as if the film does justice to the area.

“There’s that saying that if you can touch one person in the audience you’ve done your job and I’ve had so many people reach out to say nice things,” O’Brien said. “A local Fairhaven guy came up to me after the world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and said that his father had helped build the hurricane barrier and, as soon as he saw it in the opening shot, it brought tears to his eyes. I loved the entire process of directing the film, but knowing that it affected people emotionally is all I could ever ask for as a filmmaker.”

Aside from Fairhaven, the Festival will feature The Green Slime, a 1968 sci-fi classic, screened as a tribute to Robert Dunham, an American Korean War veteran who starred in Japanese monster movies and returned to the United States in 1975, residing in Cape Cod.

While his part in the film is small, he can be seen battling invading space aliens, which Gidwitz said, “look remarkably like the rusty tide algae that has been clouding Buzzards Bay waters for several summers.”

“We call it rusty tide,” said Gidwitz. “The Green Slime is fun because it’s over the top. It has all these special effects, [plus] it’s very campy and hilarious. The monsters are these green things with tentacles that they wave about.”

Further, the release notes that other films include Into the Gyre, an award-winning look at Falmouth Sea Education Association scientists as they study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic; Patrimony, an intense drama about family and loss, starring television star Robert Vaughan; and a selection of cell phone videos submitted to the Festival in a weekly contest held throughout the summer.

“That was fantastic,” Gidwitz said. “We’ve got sailboats, powerboats – a guy riding his bicycle off a diving board into the water, people doing back flips off the dock in Fairhaven – just peoples’ impressions of the summer. It’s was nice to see how much energy people put into them.”

Tickets for all screenings are available online at buzzardsbayfilmfestival.org. Tickets for Sunday’s films, including Fairhaven and The Green Slime, are also available at the Zeiterion Box Office, in person or by phone at 508-994-2900, or online at http://www.zeiterion.org.