Colin Mochrie

July 15, 2013

IAmA Colin Mochrie of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Here to talk about the show and my new book Not QUITE the Classics. AMA!

Hi Reddit, this is Colin Mochrie, back for another AMA. Whose Line Is It Anyway returns tomorrow night on The CW. In the meantime, you can also read my book, Not QUITE the Classics, as an eBook: (Available in hardcover this fall from Penguin). It's a collection of re-tellings of classic stories, based on the First Line, Last Line improv game. Proof can be found on Twitter: Hey Guys, got to go as I'm popular elsewhere. Thanks for the interest and watch Whose Line tomorrow, buy my book and live well. Cheers

Hi Colin thanks for doing this! The one question we all want to know: who do you fuck, marry and kill? Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Drew Carey

I'd do a combination to all of them

Hey Colin! Big fan like everyone else here. Just watched your two-man show on Netflix and loved it!

In regards to your book, did you find it difficult to transition from physical comedy to written comedy? Was the process still the same?

In regards to the rebirth of Whose Line, who was the best 4th chair/guest seat to work with this season?

Writing is work, so I hated it. Much rather do the physical. All the fourth chairs were great, so no favourites.

Hi Colin, can you specifically remember one joke or funny moment in your whole career? If you could share that with us it would be an honor! Cya tomorrow night!

The Richard Simmons encounter still sticks in my head no matter how much alcohol I consume

First off, Just wanted to say how much I love you and all of the WLIIA guys. You were the comedy geniuses that helped me come out of my shell in my teenage years.

On to a question:

Do you feel right at home on the new Whose Line set? From the clips that have been released it looks like the magic is still there, but do you Wayne and Ryan FEEL it?

It was our original studio so it was completely comfortable. We felt it.

Hi Colin! Thanks for doing this AMA! I have a ton of questions but mainly these six:

  1. Some of the funniest things that I have seen from the old show were the bloopers that were censored on ABC Family (Cosby and Hitler and whenever Ryan got stuck on a hoedown). I heard you say that the CW is letting you guys get away with more, how much more are we talking here?
  2. What’s different about having Aisha Tyler on the show instead of Drew Carey? Whose idea was it to ask Aisha and why?
  3. How did you guys (you, Ryan, and Wayne) get your start in Whose Line? I remember seeing you in the UK version but how did that start? You and Ryan look like a great team, did you guys meet through the show or did you know each other beforehand? Also why did Whose Line stop the last time? What brought it back?
  4. Are there rules that you guys follow during your improv?
  5. Have you given Wayne grief for his baldness yet?
  6. Do they still make you the girl in a lot of the scenes again? Why did that always happen?

Thanks again for the AMA, and thanks for bringing this show back, it’s been my favorite since I was 10.

P.S. Please tell me there is a MEOW in the next season.

Edit: Got my Taylors/Tylers mixed up

We just let the censors and producers worry about it and did our business. Still can't swear. Aisha was great. Gave as good as she got. No weight jokes. Ryan and I grew up together. we all auditioned for the show and got it. Simple. No one knows why it stopped but was brought back by the comedy gods at the CW Listen and accept. No. He's my brother Wayne was the girl this go round. they always give it to the newest bald guy.

Hey Colin! My name's Wendy and I'm a HUGE HUGE fan. I'm the Vice President External on the Carleton Improv Association and in February my team and I got the honour of preforming in a show you hosted for Cracking up the Capital (Link: And you were WICKED. We loved preforming on the same stage as you SO MUCH. You were awesome and we hope to see you again next year!

So this is my question: At my school, improv's not huge (we're not really a drama or fine arts school), do you have any suggestions on how our club could get more members? And do you have any suggestions on how we could get more people out to our shows? Thanks!

PS. The last photo in the link is actually when I asked you to a reaction to what you think of the internet. You were pretty spot on.

PPS. The president of my Improv Team wanted to ask this: "If you were forced, at gunpoint, to NOT choose between the Carleton and uOttawa Improv teams, what assumptions would you make about the gunman?"

Start workshops to get people out and make them fun so they come back and want to perform. You have to rely on word of mouth at first and talk it up where ever and when ever you can.

Which part of your book was most difficult to write?

All of it. Writing is work. I hate work.

Hey Colin! The new book looks awesome. Can we get a sample?


Colin, huge fan, love the show.

What's the most Canadian thing you've done recently?

Put maple syrup on a beaver during a hockey game between Mounties.

What was your reaction when you were asked to do the show again?

Was very happy. Hopefully people will watch.

Happy that Whose Line is back, first of all, so excited!!! But do have to ask, if a second season were to come about, do you think Chip, Greg and Brad will be back for at least an ep each?

I certainly hope so. I miss those guys. Call the CW and make them. Don't tell them I told you.

How would onstage Colin describe offstage Colin? How would offstage Colin describe onstage Colin?

I call the onstage Colin "The Other". Off-stage Colin is every woman's desire.

What is your favorite aspect of the new Whose Line?

Getting to work with my friends again. And Ryan and Wayne.

Hi Colin! Whats your favorite of all the Whose Line skits to perform?

Greatest Hits. I love sitting down.

Before I ask anything, I just want to say thank you so much for doing this AMA and I think I speak for everyone here when I say you really brightened up a lot of people's lives.

Anyways, here's my question: was there ever a particular joke(didn't have to involve you) that stands up in your mind as "too far"? I know you might not even answer this, but thanks again!

None pop to mind. I think that we are pretty good at getting close to "too far" without doing it.

Where do you get all your funky shirts?

The Magnum PI fire sale.

Hi Colin!!!

Thanks for the laughs, Who's your favorite hockey team?

Bruins and Leafs.

Hi there!

Who is the one person you would like to be in Whose line is it anyway? that hasn't been there (dead or alive). That's to say, whowould you like to do improve with?

Any specific part of the show (props, scenes from a hat etc.)?

I would have loved Jonathan Winters to have been on. Brilliant.

Thanks so much for doing this AMA! I'm a huge fan. :) Questions: What new games will you be playing this season? Will there be a nice balance of the old and new (nostalgia/surprises)? Also, what is your favourite letter of the alphabet?

There is a balance of old and new, which is great. A new game, sure to be a fan favourite is "Sideways Scene."

Hey Colin! I don't know if you'll even read this, but I just wanted to say I'm a huge fan. I met you and Brad in Lancaster, PA. Don't know if you remember me (probably not, because I'm sure you meet a lot of people), but I was the guy with the long hippy hair who said I do my own improv. Haha. Anyway, here's my question:

What advice can you give to an amateur improviser? I love doing small improv shows as a hobby, so what advice can you give me when we're on stage performing? (or even practicing)

Do it as often as you can. You quickly find out your weaknesses and strengths.

Hey Colin, fellow Canadian here. I saw a show about your success as a comedian and to paraphrase you attributed your success in part to never saying no to a project. Was there anything you did say no to that you now regret, or one you are glad you said no to?

Shouldn't have said no to Breaking Bad.

Most embarrassing moment on Whose Line? Saw a live taping this May btw... Laughed the whole time!

Every moment is embarrassing.

Did you like working with Aisha Tyler and exactly how awesome is she?

She's pretty awesome and was great to work with. She now owes me 100 bucks.

Colin, if you respond to this, I will be a hero in the eyes of my girlfriend. Which is your favourite, British or American version?

The tapings were the same in both countries, the only difference was the censorship. But both casts were amazing and great friends.

Wahey, was not expecting a reply, thankyou!

Hope your girlfriend now finds you heroic.

Hi Colin!

I am currently taking improv classes at a theatre in Bellingham WA which Ryan started awhile ago. I really have two questions. The first is how did you get started in improv in the first place? The second is have you been to the Upfront Theatre in Bellingham? If so, do you have any plans to ever go up there for another show?

You have been a surprisingly huge part of my childhood. My family always got along when watching whose line and I thank you for making us laugh and forget about other things for awhile. Your great.

I love the Upfront! I have performed drunk there. I first got started when I saw an improv demonstration and was immediately hooked.

Dear Colin. What are your plans for the future, and also, any thoughts on the meaning of life?

No plans. The meaning of life is: the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally

Hi Colin! Thanks for doing another AMA. Do you have any advice for someone who's trying to start his own improv club at a college?

Surround yourself with people you trust and have fun with and hope for the best.


Thanks for the kind words. We have so many people come up and tell us how the show got them through some bad times, which is lovely to hear. We tend to think of ourselves as paid goofs.

You've always been my favorite panelist on Whose Line, so thanks for all the laughs!

My question, will there be more episodes of Whose Lines' revival after the initial 10?

It's up to the audience. Time to put your eyeballs where your tv is.

Hello Colin, big fan from the U of K (Scotland actually), loved you since our version on C4 and I'm only 25 so I was a nipper. Any idea when the new show will reach our shores and what channel it will be on.

No idea as yet. Will keep you posted.

Hey Colin! Did you know that the official sport of the state of Maryland is jousting?


Hey Collin! Thanks for doing this for your fans!! After sitting through like a 12 hour marathon of watching Who's Line with my friends, we noticed even with your great freedom, a few times that the producer or someone would wave-off or change a topic that was probably deemed to be "too edgy". I'm sure some of these moments weren't included in the shows so my question is, what moments where you and the crew had to rephrase/not do, stand out to you in your career?

The beauty of those moments is that they ended up on television anyway, probably getting bigger laughs than if we did the scene.

Along with Ryan almost injuring himself when his head hit the table and broke the light while pretending to be Carol Channing, what other moments did you find yourself laughing a lot or holding back from breaking character in performances?

I don't find the others funny, so I have no problem.

Hi Colin, love all the work you have done for the comedy community and just everything in general. Was just wondering, what are some of your other interests and hobbies outside of the limelight? What makes Colin Mochrie tick besides laughter?

A clock I swallowed as a child.

Who is the funniest person in your family and how does your immediate family tolerate your sense of humor?

My wife is the funniest, followed by my son, then the two dogs. As long as I buy them gifts they love me

What is something you are proud of besides Whose Line is it Anyway?

My marriage and my son.

Hey Colin! You are honestly too funny!

Who do you get along with the best out of Drew, Wayne and Ryan?

I grew up with Ryan, so Drew and Wayne.

Colin, I am a huge fan! Thanks for doing this. Proud you are from my homeland....What is your favourite part about being Canadian?

Being on the 5 dollar bill.

Hello Colin, thanks a lot for doing AMA. Among approx. 100 questions I have, here's just one...

Did you ever read something off of a card in Whose Line is it Anyway and go "I can't do this" or "how will I ever do this?", even if only in your mind?

No, the beauty of improv is that you just commit and fool the audience into thinking you know what you are doing.

I have been laughing at you my whole life. I am constantly impressed by your comedic ability.

That said, what was a time when your best material just flopped?


What beverage should I drink while watching Whose Line Is It Anyway tomorrow?

Also, you're awesome and hilarious.

Whatever flows through your nose the easiest.

Was there a different feeling between doing WLIIA the first time versus this time?

I move slower now.

What advice would you give to someone trying to do improv for the first time?

Listen and make sure the people on stage with you are having fun.

i have no questions. i just want to thank you, for always making me laugh. so, thank you sir

You're welcome.

Hi Colin! Thanks so much for doing this AMA. I loved your appearances on The Drew Carey Show, Blackfly, The Red Green Show and others. Are there any shows you would like to guest star on in the future?

Game of Thrones and the 6 o'clock news.

Hi, Colin! I'm super excited for Whose Line to start up again tomorrow. Tomorrow is also my birthday, so it'd be an awesome birthday present if you were able to acknowledge my existence :)

My question: For those periods of time when Whose Line was off the air, and before the improv show on Game Show Network, how often did you keep in contact with everyone from the show? Mainly the regulars, Wayne, Ryan, and Drew, but the "extras" work as well too :)

We usually did at least 1 show a year together. Brad I saw all the time.

It always seemed to me that you took the brunt of a lot of pratfalls and the like in the old Whose Line. Was that how it actually was?


As a fellow balding man, I would like to ask; how have you dealt with your diminishing hairline in a world of celebrities with beautiful, full hair-do's?

EDIT: Grammar

The beautiful have no where to go but down. And they don't deal with it well.

Hey Colin love your work and comedy style. Whats your favorite memory from working on Whose line is it Anyways?

Just working with those people was the best gift I have ever had. And my batman watch.

Hi Colin! So Whose Line is on air again tomorrow and i'm wondering. How was it being with the guys again after years of waiting?

It was like slipping into a pair of comfortable, old,wrinkly shoes.

I am a HUGE HUGE fan! Colin, I saw your show with Brad last October, and I have never laughed so hard in my life. You guys were GREAT. My question is this: what is the dynamic like on the new Whose Line? Is it as though the gang never parted? Also, can we expect new games on this Whose Line? I am partial to Party Quirks and the Irish Drinking Song, so I hope I those games are on the new Whose Line :) I just cannot wait to see you back on my tv!

It was like we never left.

Colin!!! My friend Courtney and I are in love with you. Anyway, what does it mean to "fluff one's Garfield," precisely?

I am prohibited by law from telling you.

Hey Colin, I just have one question I'd like to ask you. In the new Whose Line? will there be Hoedowns and Irish Drinking Songs?

We didn't do an Irish drinking song and thankfully there was only one Hoedown. That may change if we come back.

If you could go back in time and deliver one sentence worth of advice to your younger 20 something year old self, what would you say?

Don't worry.

You are a man who is known to make others laugh.... what are some things that will ALWAYS make you laugh and if you have a bad day, what's your go-to for turning it around?

People hurting themselves always makes me laugh. Yes it's cruel, but so what.

Off guard without a decent question. Darn.

Well, I have some anyway. What makes a group of improvising comedians work well together? Does it help to have rather similar or radically different senses of humor? Is having a group of people with different physical characteristics important (read: all the "Drew's heavy" and "Colin's bald" jokes in the first run of Whose Line?)?

And also, do you think that the kind of improvising you and the cast of Whose Line do can (or should) be taught in an academic setting alongside other, more traditional ways to act?

Thanks for opting to bring Whose Line back. I'll check out the book too, it ought to be awesome.

The important thing is trust, so it shouldn't matter how different everyone is in their improv. And yes I think it should be taught.

Do you you think Aisha Tyler is going to make a good host?



It's a secret.

Hey Colin, it's great to see that you guys are back at it doing Whose Line. I watched a ton of the show back in the day, and it really sparked my interest in improv comedy.

Up until the past year, I'd only been doing short form comedy more or less resembling the games that you guys played on the show. Now, however, I've been learning and really getting into more long form and training with people who have studied at UCB and Second City. In the past year, I've really been able to form opinions about the connections between short form and long form comedy.

I've read from various places that you like long form better than short form, and I was wondering how true that was. I'd be curious to know your views on long form vs short form, and how the two intertwine for you personally. Do you think long form ever has a place on Whose Line or television in general?

I love both. Long form is great because you have more time to build a character and a situation, where short form is more schticky. Long form is a hard sell for TV unless it's a CurB Your Enthusiasm type deal.

Hi Collin!!

Since you've already filmed for the airing tommorow. Do you think the show will be as funny as when it first aired in the states?


How do you feel like this show will compare to the older version? All the actors have aged, do you think that there will still be a great physical part of the show? Does Ryan still do Carol Channing?

No Carol Channing this time and we are still pretty physical. I actually bled in one taping.

Did you and the guys still have chemisty like the old days?

Yes and a little bit of Physics.

Do you think this version is going to be better or worse without Drew Carey?

It will be different but just as funny.

What is your 2nd favourite improv moment? (You previously mentioned Arctic Tern was #1).

Can't wait to watch you and the gang on the new Whose Line! The return was some of the best news I have ever heard. Have a good life, will always be a huge fan.

Richard Simmons.

Exactly how firm is Ryan Stiles' ass?

His donkey recently died so his ass is quite firm.

Hi Colin! I absolutely love Whose Line, I'm so glad that a deserving show is getting a second chance on TV. Question: When doing all the fantastic intros you do as the anchor for the news segment and greatest hits sketches, did you have those intros stored in your head already, or did you come up with them on the spot as soon as you heard Drew say what game you'd be playing? By the way, my favorite: "We're watching animal porn! Mary had a little lamb."

I have a backload of bad puns in my head so I just let it come out.

Can you talk the producers into making the new Whose Line more 90's looking?

We are all 90, so no worries.

Who was your favorite guest star to work with during the original run?

Sid Caesar is a hero of mine so it was a highlight to work with him.

Colin!! Quickly wanted to say that you've always been my favorite on WLIIA! I was in the studio audience for the Kevin McHale episode. I believe one of the people working said that the studio was around 40 degrees! Does the cold ever get to you during filming?

It certainly gets to my nipples.

What's on your bucket list?

P.S. You're the best.

Just a bucket.

Is there anything you won't retweet? The birthday re-tweets are kind of you to do but..

I retweet birthdays and good causes. And anything to do with me.

What was the most unexpected moment on Whose Line?

That it was successful.

Hey Colin!
First off, I want to thank you for all the joy you have brought to the world.
Improv seems like one of the toughest things to do in showbiz, and you make it seem so effortless.

My 2-part question:
It seems that people in improv enjoy busting each other's balls (not literally!) quite often. Has anyone ever made a crack about you on-stage that you think was over the line? Did you ever joke about someone, only to realize/be told later that you went a little overboard?

Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

No we are pretty good with each other.

Hello Colin, you were always my favorite and deep down I think you knew it.

I listen to Proops's podcast, and when telling stories that reference or include you he refers to you as "the older, bald fellow." Do you have a similar name for him?

The four-eyed addle-brained one.

Hey Colin!

Quick question. I see that the initial run of Whose Line Is It Anyway? consists of only 10 episodes. Is this simply because CW wants to test the waters with the success of the show and will do more later in the year if it does well, or is everyone's schedules too conflicted to do that much more than 10?

I speak for millions when I say we want as much Whose Line as possible, and would love to clear that up. Thanks!

If it is successful we will do more. We all love doing the show.

WLIA is here to stay right? Forever?


Hi Colin! What game would you NOT like to return to Whose Line?


Hi Colin, huge fan :)

To me Whose Line was so funny and successful compared to a lot of other improv groups/shows because it seemed like the core group was more interested in making each other laugh rather than making jokes the audience "expected." It really felt like you guys knew each other and what type of humour would make you crack up or get a reaction, and those jokes ended up being much more natural and hilarious.

Was this ever the case, or were you always trying to go for any gags that landed with the audience, co-stars, or anyone?

I think our personalities were as big a reason for the show's success as anything else. Everyone has their fan club and we really enjoyed each other which became infectious, till I got that cream.

When you're offstage are you clever and funny as well or do you feel like being more quiet and reclusive in you day to day life?

I'm a hermit.

Mr. Mochrie. I'm a huge fan. I think you are one of our times greatest improv geniuses. You have been a part of every incarnation of Who's line is it anyway.

Can you tell us a little about the differences between the original UK version, the Carey version and the latest revival of the show?

The tapings were the same for all three. It was just fun with the inmates. The only difference was the censorship. None in Britain, a lot on ABC, in between with the CW.

How did you react when you fount out Whose Line was going off the air? Similarly, how did you react when you were informed that it was going back on the air?

Thanks for your time!

They never told us we were cancelled. We were "on hiatus" Around the fourth year, I felt something was wrong. It's great to be back.

Please help me resolve a dispute with my 6 year old. Is poop always funny? He says no.

If it's done satirically.

are you mobbed by who's line groupies everywhere you go?

Yes but never women,

Hi Colin!

My improv teacher once said that people censor themselves in improv because they feel it's either unoriginal, a little psychotic or sexual.

Do you have any comments or insight in regards to my teachers statement?

The trick with improv is being relaxed enough that whatever comes to mind you just say. It's then up to you and your partners to make it original.

How much input did you and the other guys have towards the special guest? Was it all a group decision or were the producers just like, "Hey, Richard Simmons is gonna be on the show today?"

We had no input. Dan Patterson the producer is a control freak. Strange choice to do an improv show.

Salut Mr Mochrie from Quebec!

I have two questions one is related to the AMA Aisha Tyler did yesterday because I reddit needs confirmation from someone impartial: How big are Aisha Tyler's hands?

Second, is what I really need to know watching the classic Who's line, I noticed that Ryan especially but all the crew go all the way to make fun of your baldness. Every time you make this expression which is a mixture of 'God not again', 'Yes, I'm bald' with a pinch of sad clown. What do you do to get even with Ryan? Is there some epic prank war between the two of you that you can share stories about?

Once Ryan finds out Satan is bald, he will spent eternity regretting his actions. Aisha's hands are Tyler-sized.

Colin! What do you eat for breakfast?

My breakfast.

I'll try and do this but it might come out all wrong...I'm just someone who is a fan of the style for as long as I can remember.I'm have excitement in me for the show tomorrow and I'm also in the middle of reading your book.These questions might be a bit odd but let's see... 1.Would you consider yourself to be a bibliophile? 2.Are you more of a cat or a dog person? 3.What do pirates do with teddy bears? 4.Have you encountered some of the...Odder things that fans have made involving you and other members of the show and the views you have on them? 5.Are any shows you like in the animated variety and what are they? (I apologize if any of these are too weird or personal...) (And for random facts today is Tapioca Pudding Day)

Yes,dog, impale on their hooks,no, Archer.

Congrats on the book, can't wait to read it! Also a humongous fan of your work on every iteration of Whose Line. I will never understand why it got cancelled on was consistently hilarious.

Enough ass kissing, question time.

1) Do you still keep in contact with any of the British Whose Line cast members?

2) Ever have the urge to drug your fellow competitors and shave their heads?

Thanks again for doing this, and I can't wait for tomorrow's premiere!

1)Yes, a lot of the Comedy Store players are good friends. 2) Did it already but with the toupees, you can't tell.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Colin Mochrie conducted on Reddit on 2013-07-15. The Reddit AMA can be found here.