Colin and Brad: Two Man Group (DVD)

Let’s start with a suggestion from the audience.

Do you remember Whose Line Is It Anyway? Sure you do. The improv comedy series ran on both sides of Atlantic for several years, and produced a lot of laughs. Two of its stars, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, have kept the spur-of-the-moment yuks going with their touring live show, now recorded for this DVD, Colin and Brad: Two Man Group.

The set up couldn’t be simpler. Colin and Brad act out a series of improv “games,” keeping things spontaneous with suggestions and occasional “volunteers” from the audience. Most of these will be familiar to anyone who watched Whose Line. Audience members provide sound effects for a sketch, other audience members move Colin and Brad around like puppets, and so on. Other sketches show a little more ingenuity, such as a “sideways sketch,” in which the pair are on the floor, with a camera right above them, creating an optical illusion that they’re standing normally. This allows for all sorts of slapstick craziness.

The show’s centerpiece has Colin and Brad saying they’re going to take improv “farther than its ever gone,” when they attempt a sketch with the stage floor covered with mousetraps, all ready to spring at the slightest touch. This is ingenious in a Penn and Teller sort of way, but it stops being funny, and instead just becomes a stunt, more like something you’d see in a circus sideshow rather than at a comedy show.

Because there’s no host, such as a Drew Carey or a Clive Anderson, there are awkward transitions between skits, as Colin and Brad abruptly go in and out of character. Also, on Whose Line, there was always a sense that the guys were holding back, coming up with lines or skits that would be too dirty for TV. In this performance, there’s still that feeling of Colin and Brad self-censoring themselves, pulling back just before a sketch becomes suggestive. Still, a lot of their back-and-forth really got me laughing, so I can take the good along with the bad.

The audio and video are stellar, clean and clear, with no problems making out the all-important wordplay. Two featurettes are set up as behind-the-scenes extras, but are really more of Colin and Brad horsing around.

At just over an hour, the show doesn’t overstay its welcome, and provides some solid chuckles. If you’re looking for a few quick laughs, go ahead and put it in your queue.

The Verdict

Not guilty, if you know what I mean.

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