As this is technically a project based on history and accurately telling the Whose Line story, I made sure recently that I’d be exhausting all of my options before dipping into Trust Us With Your Life, which…I am not at all looking forward to. I sent feelers out, checked for other WL-related improv projects in this era, and made it a point that they needed to be officially released tapings. No youtube rips.
On a whim, a reader brought me towards one such account that was easily accessible by way of Amazon Prime. Colin & Brad: Two-Man Group, from 2011
What fun! I get to cover a Colin and Brad show that I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
[And it sort of counts as a movie so I can also log it on Letterboxd!]
To refresh you all, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, after the success of Whose Line, the All-Stars tours, and GSS, came up with the idea to do a two-man improv show across the country. Unlike two-person improv, like what you’d see in Middleditch and Schwartz or in improv theatres across the land, they’d still do short-form material, and do a lot of WL-esque games, but they’d do different material that’d accommodate a two-man team with…nobody else in the wings. Beginning in the mid-2000s, Colin and Brad’s tours became fan-favorites quickly, as they would tour on-and-off for the next 15 or so years, up until the present day, where Colin has alternated his Brad shows with Hyprov shows [somewhere, Spence 12Medbe seethes].
Now, as I’ve mentioned here, I’ve seen Colin and Brad live before, back in 2016 at the Purchase Performing Arts Center in Westchester County, NY, and talked to them before the show. I know what the Colin-and-Brad show was like in 2016, and ironically the bill had the same title as this special, Two-Man Group. I do not know how/if it differs in form and gameload from the 2016 show I saw. In fact, I don’t know anything at all about this special, other than it exists, and this was shot in Milwaukee. Which makes me wonder if this is the same place they shot Jeff Dunham’s Christmas Special.
[I know. I know. 2009 was a year I regret]
Right, we’re diving right in. I’m honestly interested to see what kind of quality we’re looking at here.
Already, something about the graphics, the announcing, the music, the way the stage is lit, just screams late-2000s for me, even though I know it’s from 2011.
Colin, for his opening spiel, asks the audience if anyone thinks improv has any hidden tricks so it’s not entirely made up, and a few people cheer
Colin: ‘alright. You people are bastards.”
Colin, as this is technically a family recording, changes his and Brad’s usual catchphrase to ‘let’s make up some crap’.
Moving Bodies: Belgium, chicken, and spiders
Colin, to Amy and Joe: “We are going to play a game that is very easy…uh, for Brad and I.”
Colin: “so, Amy, because you and Brad are almost the same height, you’ll move him…”
Colin brings back the ‘if you want him to come home with you, there’s a good area’ joke, which we’ve seen on IAG
Colin: “You’ll never find it, don’t worry…”
Colin, getting Belgium: “however popular, one of our better dialects…”
Colin: “and an usual object…A CHICKEN!”
Brad: [cautious thumbs up]
Colin: ‘…that’s WACKY!”
Colin: “So, we have Belgium, chicken, spiders…pretty much writes itself…”
So Brad goes to the other side of the stage, and Amy DOESN’T GET THE MESSAGE THAT SHE SHOULD GO OVER THERE TOO. She’s still standing near Colin. Joe’s even trying to motion to her.
Joe and Amy are already doing a great job having them gesture along with their dialogue.
Colin: “Up in my attic I have a pantry.”
Brad: “Oh…you keep chickens in your attic?”
Colin: ‘…doesn’t everyone?”
I love Colin’s confused, surprised reaction as Joe twists his body almost the entire way around without moving his legs.
Colin: “First I must crush my testicles…for no reason.”
And just the ensuing motion afterwards, of Joe and Amy moving Colin and Brad across the stage as if they’re some sort of conga line
Colin challenges the movers to have them go up a spiral staircase, and…yeah, it works pretty well
Joe: [lifts Colin’s arm potentially to turn on a lightswitch”
Colin: “…hmm, I wonder what that was I just did…OH, I WAS PUSHING ZE ATTIC DOOR UP.”
Brad: “yes, EVEN I KNEW ZAT.”
Joe for a moment forgets how to move Colin forward, going as so far to lift Colin, which again confuses the hell out of him
Colin: “everytime I walk up that staircase I get a tingling in my buttocks!”
Joe is at least very helpful to Amy, sort of motioning that she should move Brad’s head as well. This is why you get movers who know each other
Colin, as Brad goes over to the cooler box: “…I’m still squeezing my testicles.”
Joe: [moves Colin’s right leg]
Joe even has Colin wipe his brow. HE’S GOOD.
The last bit of this is very funny, because Brad and Colin have to yell things several times [like Brad yelling ‘RUN AWAY’ and Colin yelling ‘I WILL GRAB THE CHICKEN’], and because several things are happening at once, both movers take a bit to realize it’s a command
Joe even moves Colin towards the staircase as he’s still going “I WILL GRAB THE CHICKEN”. It’s so silly. AND HE KEEPS DOING IT AS JOE HAS HIM GO DOWN THE STAIRCASE.
Brad, as he’s clearly being moved in a different direction than Colin: “How many different spiral staircases do you have here?”
Colin: “I DON’T KNOW”
A very silly Moving People, and one that got insanely funny towards the end, as it got more complicated. The movers did their best, but I’m glad Colin and Brad could continue to screw with them
Sound Effects: white-water rafting
I find it funny that Colin asks “who thinks they would be good at the sound effects game?”. Sharing the knowledge with the audience. He did this at our show, and a friend of mine got picked to do SFX, and did a bang-up job.
This is the way they do SFX on the road- one eager person does all of Colin’s, while an entire row of audience members does all of Brad’s. It works pretty well, on experience
Also, odd that Colin pronounces the word ‘serpentEEN’, when I thought it was made clear that Colin pronounced it 20SerpenTINE
Jeff’s SFX are pretty good in the demo round, although it may be because he’s a Green Bay Packers fan and he’s been asked to imitate the sound of opening a beer. [Hey, if only there was a Mystery Science Theater reference for that…]
Colin makes the joke for me: “I think Jeff KNOWS that sound..”
Welcome to Wisconsin, Colin
Colin: “I have my bear-repellent call”
Colin: ‘they are very disturbed by foghorns’
Brad has a rifle cocked, and gets a ‘KA-BLAWWAWAWAW”
Brad: “you see…this one shoots a small duck…it launches a bear, distracting the duck, the bear eats the duck, we get away”
Why is Brad always funny when he’s talking about animals??
Brad’s sprinkler noise is a bit too errant: “it works kind of like a lawn sprinkler”
As Brad pushes off, Jeff throws in a “wSSHHHHHHHHH”
Brad: “Oh, I think I just tore my pants..”
We get to Colin…stapling Brad’s pants together.
Brad: “…didn’t feel a thing, I took an Ambien earlier”
Colin and Brad paddle, and Jeff does a “PFFFFF” noise
Colin: “I’m just paddling in mud”
Colin: “HEY LOOK, AN EAGLE”
Brad: “is that the one with the crow in its mouth?”
As they get to the rapids, Jeff does these really good sounds of the waters
Brad: “will you patch that hole in the raft?”
Colin: “Should I use the stapler.”
Colin: “…the BIGGEST BEAR I’VE EVER SEEN.”
Brad: “…he looks confused. Use your bear repellent car.”
Brad: “they really hate vintage cars!”
Colin: “He’s coming into the water, he’s coming after us”
Jeff: [rustling noises]
Colin: “HE’S GOT RICE KRISPIES!!”
Brad: “I’ve got my duck gun.”
Brad: “OH, I FORGOT TO LOAD IT WITH A DUCK.”
The concept of Colin needing to do CPR on a duck, and Jeff doing hyperventilating noises…
Colin just gives Jeff a look. I don’t blame him
Colin, not believing this: ‘wait…I’m not finished with the duck…”
Colin continues, and Jeff does the noise
Brad: “WAITWAITWAIT…he’s upside down!”
Then, as Colin shoves the duck into the gun, Brad is very close to breaking himself
The kid who eventually does Brad’s SFX for the gun: “…BQUAAAPP”
Brad: “That duck had quite a smile on his lips”
And as they continue rowing, Colin and Brad just let what just happened with the duck wash over them and try to regain composure
As they head for a waterfall, Jeff emits another confusing noise
Brad: “…d’you hear my stomach growling?”
Colin gets an idea to put “an outboard motor on the front and go back…I knew this would come in handy with a raft…”
Jeff eventually starts a motor noise…and Colin watches it as it takes off autonomously
Brad: “YOU SHOULD HAVE TIED IT TO THE RAFT!”
Colin: “I DIDN’T KNOW!”
Brad tells Colin to stuck his butt in the hole in the raft to plug it. Colin, knowingly, places a single finger into the whole: “a butt will not plug anything.”
Brad seems to like this line
Colin, after drinking a beer, gets a truly great burping noise courtesy of Jeff, which he helps by doing horrified facial expressions as he keeps going
Brad: “STOPPIT, YOU’RE ATTRACTING THE BEAR.”
Brad: “I’ll show you a burp, watch this”
Audience member, not prepared: [high pitched giggle]
Colin: “you okay?”
Brad: “I thought of a really funny joke while I was about to drink…”
Brad’s audience member also has an impressively long burping noise
A very silly, and very impressive SFX game. The entire duck bit felt classic, and I’m glad Colin went back to that
Sideways Scene: Dog Pooped on the Lawn; kung-fu soap opera
WAIT A MINUTE. I thought that Sideways Scene started with Fast and Loose, or even TUWYL, but here it is in 2011 on the Ryan and Colin tour. I am shocked. And…I’m glad I did this before TUWYL
Brad asks for a reason two neighbors might be mad at each other: ‘DOG POOPED ON THE LAWN? Okay, I cleaned that up a little bit…”
Here’s what we’re looking at:
This looks a lot different from the TUWYL sideways scene, and even the CW one, because it’s not red, and it has props and a scene set up ready to go. Also, they’re going in with a style of ‘soap opera kung fu’, rather than having someone yell them out in progress, as that just seems needlessly complicated, especially when Fred Willard does it
I love Brad’s struggle to get the door closed, saying the door’s being blown open by the wind, accounting for gravity
Brad: “I am tired of cleaning up the CACA…OF YOUR SHITZU!”
Again, Brad is just so clever with these
One of the things I love about this game is how it makes physicality a lot more cartoony and easier to muster, like here:
Plus, Brad doing a kung-fu flip involves him nearly crawling onto the set and nudging his way to the other side of Colin
A lot of the rest of this scene is admittedly a lot of broad kung fu movements and physical gags. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m missing the extra styles
There’s a nice bit where they try pouring a glass of wine sideways, and it ends up spilling onto the ‘wall’
Brad’s spilled so much over by Colin that Colin just starts flicking the empty bottle towards Brad to try and soak him a bit
As Brad goes to leave, the door nearly falls on top of him
Not a great Sideways Scene, as things would be retooled a bit once we get to Dan&Mark productions
Two Headed Expert:
This one we don’t get an intro for, we just get right in- Colin and Brad sitting next to each other, and doing a presentation with every other word. “If you have any questions, feel free to ask them of”
There is actually an explanation- Colin and Brad are an expert on love and relationships, and they’ve opened it up to the audience to ask them things, speaking one word at a time. Clever.
The first guy has a good one: “is it better to be right, or is it better to be happy”
Another guy asks for pick-up lines for a girl in his class.
Audience member: “going bald is kind of a hereditary thing in my family, is balding really a bad thing for the ladies?”
This is why I love their working relationship
Audience member: “what’s a good way to come out of the closet?”
Brad, of course: “open”
This one has aged well: “what if my partner wants to add a third person to the mix?”
POLYAMORY IN 2011??
“Have a wild time with them both, because variety is the spice of life, and three’s not company, it’s
Guy: “Around how much is it gonna cost for a night with both of you?”
Random Audience member, when that applause dies down: “TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS”
Some smartass: “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck…could chuck…wood?”
What makes this game work so well is they can mind-meld and figure out the punchline each of them are going for
Finally, some guy: “does the female g-spot truly exist?”
“To a normal person, finding the g-spot may be difficult, but if you have a GPS, then you are likely to find it”
A really, REALLY fun round of that, and a great testament to how good Colin and Brad are at working with each other.
Colin: “Can we have you two right there…no, both of you, nice try…NICE TRY SELLING OUT THE HUSBAND”
Colin explains that as they do this game show scene, Jennifer and Mike can move their lips as much as they want, “you’re just screwing Brad and I”
Once they set up the premise…OH DAMN, IT’S JEOPARDY. THEY’RE DOING JEOPARDY. Only they have audience members as the other two contestants, and Colin and Brad are dubbing them. This…seems tricky, but it could work
Jennifer, not entirely getting the game, once Brad starts talking, honks her horn. “OH, YOU SCARED ME, ALEX. I’M AFRAID OF GAME SHOW HOSTS…”
Brad, as Jennifer: “MY NAME IS JOSEEPHUS PESCATORE.”
Jennifer, not believing this, buckles a bit
Brad, as Jennifer: “Well, I’m a part-time martial arts instructor, and a FULL TIME exotic dancer…”
Colin: “d’you ever get the two mixed up”
Brad: “Not really, well, one time there were a lot of bruises after a lap dance…”
Mike, as Brad does his for #2, moves his lips, thinking he’s up
Colin: “Excuse me, contestant #3, why are you moving YOUR lips?”
Brad: “IS HE MAKING FUN OF ME?”
Brad, in a very Russian accent: “My name is…Grabsack Turnandcough”
Mike: [moves away from Brad]
YEAH, THIS GUY HAS COMEDIC TIMING TOO
Colin, as Mike, is a gruff-voiced ‘alphabet interpreter’, which is a very Colin idea. “I go to schools and teach children the alphabet by using my body to make the shapes of the letters”, and Mike does a bunch of them
Brad: “He just spelled out ‘Syracuse'”
Unlike IAG Jeopardy, the categories are on cards, rather than contestants making them up, cause…y’only have two people really and it’s better to not really know each other’s go-tos
Ironically, the first category Colin has is ‘elements of the periodic table’, which was Drew’s stand-by category in every single IAG Jeopardy
Brad also makes a nod to Drew/Kathy, for his answer for Nitrogen: “what is the opposite of Daytrogen”
I love the runner of Colin consistently getting Jennifer, as Joseephus’, name wrong, and Brad always calling him out on it in his squawky voice
Brad has a similar one for bratwurst: “what is far inferior to brat-BEST”
I find it very funny that Colin pronounces it ‘E-Mew’, rather than Emu, as E-Mew I always thought was the European pronunciation.
For Emu, nobody seems to have anything, and Brad decides to honk in FOR MIKE, screwing over Colin. As Colin goes over to Mike, he mutters ‘oh, great”
Colin’s answer for Emu doesn’t seem like he should have been worried: “how do cows communicate on the internet?”
Brad, for Zeus: “where do they keep all the animals?”
Once again, for Chippewa, Brad honks and points to Mike, screwing over Colin. Mike jokingly checks his honker. Colin takes a while, and goes “WHAT…DOESN’T RHYME…WITH VERTICAL.”
…good ol Colin and his confusing logic
Colin: “well, technically that is correct…”
Brad: “That seems like cheating to me…”
Colin chuckles at ‘things associated with outer space’: “…popular one, Uranus”
Brad: “Where is the worst place to hide your car-keys?”
The answer for Monet was one I kinda saw coming, but Colin does it well: “what do french people pay with?”
Colin: “WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH- well, that sound I just made means we have no budget, and it’s time for Final Jeopardy”
Good variation on that SFX gag from IAG that rarely worked for me
Brad, as Jennifer: “I’m gonna bid both of my points, and…a lap dance.”
Colin: “Okay, we’ll I’m pulling for ya…”
Colin, getting his for anatomical terms, shakes his head, and goes “okay…”, goes back over to Jennifer, and reveals “the answer is penis”
Of course it is
Colin: “WELL DONE”
Brad, as Jennifer, for penis: “what shows up everytime I do a lap dance”
Colin screws over Mike by making him spell out ‘Reginald’ with his body…twice.
Brad: “…he spelled Syracuse again”
Colin, for Octopus, gives a dated joke that also is kind of amazing, for Mike: “where did all of the Octomom’s children come from?”
WOW. W O W.
Then, as the audience responds, Colin just points to Mike, sort of saying ‘wasn’t me’
Brad: “I am going to wager all of my points, and a painting that I did, of Red Skelton as a buffalo”
Colin just shakes his head. A rare moment of someone throwing Colin
For ‘spices and herbs’, Colin gets ‘cumin’, for Brad. WE ALL KNOW WHAT’S COMING.
Brad, thankfully, subverts and goes for “what will she be doin’ round the mountain?”
THERE. SUBVERT WITH WHOLESOMENESS. GOOD!
A really strong Jeopardy, with a lot of really nice answers, and without IAG’s editing mishaps.
I don’t know this one, but Brad will be interviewing Kevin the mall-cop, and “Colin will be interpreting for the hearing impaired”
Brad: “Good evening and welcome to All Types of Cops”
Colin: [mimes chomping on a donut]
Brad gets him to explain Victoria’s Secret stores so Colin has to mime all that
Brad: “D’you know if they sell crotchless panties there?”
Colin’s mime for ‘velcro crotchless panties’ is pretty great
Kevin: “Sometimes I accidentally fall down the escalator, it’s kind of painful”
Colin: [mimes smoking a joint and getting on the segway, and then riding a segway down an escalator]
Brad, of course, keeps explaining this so Colin has to do the mime again
Kevin mentions walking cane stores in the mall
Brad: “and what kind of people show up at the walking cane store?”
Kevin: “people who usually can’t walk”
Colin: [falls over]
I do love the revelation that they also sell segways here, so Colin just brings back the segway mime, which I really like
Brad says ‘electric chair’, and Colin mimes ‘the electric chair’, and Brad clarifies that he means more of a recliner or heating chair and not “a chair that executes prisoners, because that would be inhumane”
A goofy round, but there wasn’t much to this one.
Torture Round: Questions/If You Know What I Mean/Letter Substitution [S is now K]; Coal Miners
This takes a lot of explanation, but it’s like Options, only at Freeze, the scene takes on a different limit, like Questions Only, Only Euphemisms, or Change Letter. It’s…very interesting
Colin asks Brad to cover his shift: “It’s my 30th anniversary, and I wasn’t going to invite you so I just figured you could take my shift…’
The Questions Only portion works because it lets them get into specificity over this shift-covering, and it also gives them some emotion and nuance. And the speed at which Brad and Colin do this is genuinely impressive, the type of speed that works BECAUSE they’re all warmed up and into the game, rather than using QO as a warm-up like on WL.
Colin: “Did that shaft seem longer than usual…if you know what I mean?”
AND WE’RE OFF
Brad: “The shaft gets longer all the time if you know what I mean. Some days you just can’t believe how long the shaft is if you know what I mean…Sometimes a shaft seems colder if you know what I mean…”
Colin: “Sometimes I worry, cause we really should have a back entrance…[PALPABLE PAUSE] if you know what I mean”
Brad: “I’d be happy to go through your rear entrance if we need to get away from the large shaft, if you know what I mean.”
Brad is so good at this
Brad mentions making a hole
Colin: “What if there’s a river on the other side of the hole? I don’t want water squirting out of my hole all over our shaft.”
Colin, after a moment of not thinking of any more, sighs, looks at Emma and goes ‘FREEZE’.
Brad is definitely having some trouble with letter substitution, because so many words use ‘s’
Colin at least edges around the letter, saying “I got my wife…a diamond ring”. I love the moments where they realize what words are okay to use.
Brad: “…khe will be in for QUITE A K-HOCK”
Emma loses it
Brad: “YOU WILL KHEE A LOOK OF K-HOCK ON HER FACE…”
Colin: “I love to French Kikk her”
The rest of that section is basic, and has some good modified dialogue, and Colin and Brad know where the funny is with this
Colin, on his sister: “HER NAME IK…PRIKKY”
Colin: “IT IK KHORT FOR…”
Even this works
There is some good escalation, including the detail that Brad has to go to a ‘koccer game’, and it leads to some good modified cursing [Colin throwing in an ‘akkhole’]. Brad finishes it off with a long streak of cursing and skillfully done substitutions, and it ends on a fun note.
Not perfect, but amusing.
Mousetraps: Someone Has Taken Someone Else’s Mail: Starting with Q
As Brad explains this, two go off, one on Colin and one on a stagehand
Brad: “…248…LIVE MOUSETRAPS…2 not so live”
Brad explains that they’ll be doing this game as Alphabet, making it trickier on them for the improv. They’ve used this in future shows, and it works
UNLIKE future shows, Brad explains this scene will be in the style of an opera, meaning everything will be sung. Wow.
Even worse, 21 mousetraps will be suspended in mid-air. This is an element that I believe was not present at my show, and this is kinda impressive
Already, the fight-or-flight from both is present as they get towards each other. Colin’s doing a line ‘IT SEEMS THAT I AM MISSING’ and steps right on one, then frantically jumps out of the way and finishes the line ‘SOME MAIL’. He then flails his arms slightly to make sure none of the hanging ones hit him.
Colin, as he keeps moving, just keeps running into all the suspended ones.
Brad has a funny read where he backs right onto one and yelps in pain in the middle of a line.
Also, Brad is the most mischievous in this game, but I love when he swings a mousetrap towards Colin, it misses him and swings back towards Brad, HITTING him.
There’s a few seconds of incoherent babbling, then Brad FINALLY hits Colin with one
Colin, in response, a few seconds later, hurls a hanging one towards Brad’s crotch. It bounces harmlessly off
Colin, who’s been flailing around for 30 seconds, hitting too many, hasn’t said the next line yet.
Brad: “Don’t you have something to say?”
Colin: “Eat me.”
Colin gets a few and flings them at Brad, again getting a direct hit low
Colin: “I see it sticking out of your shirt pocket”
Brad, knowing this could be a trap, very carefully places his hand there, as Colin is in flinging distance.
Colin tries getting a line out while tangled in like 4 or 5 hanging ones, and he’s BARELY holding onto composure
Brad: “You are to blame for several things, including skipping letters of the alphabet…”
By the end, Colin’s flipped up his goggles and just grabs a few and flings them at Colin.
Some audience member: “HIS GOGGLES ARE OFF”
Brad: [lifts up his]
Colin: [lifts his down acting like nothing happened]
A haphazard but alright Mousetraps. Not as good as some of the ones we’ve seen, but alright.
Overall: Yeah, that was a Colin and Brad show. I can see why they retired some of these games from the lineup, as Sideways Scene, Job Interpretation and Torture Round weren’t as good as some of the other, stronger games, like Jeopardy, SFX, and Two-Headed Expert. Still a pretty fun special, and the bulk of it was made up of memorable lines and moments. It just petered off a bit towards the end.
Best Game: Sound Effects, an undeniable classic
Worst Game: Sideways Scene, but it’d be better in the studio.
Who Had the Better Night?: Brad was stronger in several games.
COMING UP NEXT: I’ve prolonged it enough. We head to the UK for a reunion with Dan and Mark and…a very perplexing 8-show series.