Colin Mochrie Addresses ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Future & New Lifetime Christmas Movie
Colin Mochrie is gearing up for the end of an era with Whose Line Is It Anyway? The master improvisational tweeted the news on November 4 that the 12th season next year would be the last. He clarified to TV Insider that although there hasn’t been an official word from The CW, it’s a feeling among the cast that this incarnation is reaching the end.
“We were talking that this was probably the last year. That it was time to let new people come in,” Mochrie explained. “I know CW has been going in a different direction. That might change as I hear they may want more non-scripted work, but I’d say this incarnation of Whose Line with these shows in January will be the last time with this particular cast.
Mochrie has amassed an incredible body of work that extends from television to the stage. He is currently celebrating 20 years of improv shows on the road with Whose Line alum Brad Sherwood as part of their “Scared Scriptless” tour. Viewers can catch the star acting onscreen next in Lifetime’s holiday movie Baking All The Way. Ahead of its premiere, we sat down with Mochrie for a fun chat.
How is life on the road these days?
Colin Mochrie: I’m at the age now where the glamour is sort of gone with the travel. That part has been tough. But being able to do live shows in front of a live audience has been great. When we were on lockdown Brad and I came up with a show that was fun, but all on Zoom. We had these incredible technicians that made it look as though we were in the audience’s house, and we could do scenes with them. It’s not even close to being on stage and having the energy of the audience out there. It has been nice being back.
Do you find improv and comedy acts especially challenging to prepare for in the world we live in today?
The only thing we do in our show off the top is we won’t take anything political because when you do, you immediately divide half the audience. We are not political satirists. There are so many great ones out there. It’s hard to come up with something improvised that doesn’t seem snarky. We’re pretty good. It has been a learning process. When I look back at early Whose Line shows, it was incredibly homophobic and transphobic and filled with misogyny. These are things we’ve learned to be more aware of. There are so many ways to get laughs in improv that you don’t have to attack particular groups of people.
What are your feelings about ending your time on Whose Line?
We are all certainly indebted to Whose Line. Without it, I certainly wouldn’t be able to tour all around the world with Brad or whoever. I think part of it is that I turn 65 next week. When I first started the show, my daughter was two months old. She just turned 32. I just started thinking, “It’s time to start other stuff.” I will always love Whose Line and love the fact it didn’t take up a lot of time. It was really a couple of weeks. It was always great to see the cast. It was also getting harder because we know each other so well since we have been working together for so long. It then becomes hard not to fall into traps of getting content. That never helps with improv.
Whose Line has had an eclectic group of guest stars over the years? Some heavy hitters including Robin Williams. Do you have any favorites?
Robin for sure was definitely one of our highlights. We were all such fans of his. We were all inspired by him. To have him there and be this Oscar winner, not only was he great as a performer, but he was also so lovely. He was very welcoming and one of those people who knew all the crews’ names within an hour. Just working with him was an inspiration. Sid Caesar did a show that was amazing. He was someone I really looked up to. To have someone on our little show was amazing. Richard Simmons, I think was responsible for one of the funniest scenes that have ever been on television. All because he was so committed and into it. We’ve been very fortunate with the people we’ve had on the show.
What are your hopes for the next season as you enter filming in January?
I would love to have some sort of retrospective. Hopefully, there will be some new games we can try. I think everyone knowing it’s the last season will be on top of their game to just go out there and go out in a blaze of glory.
He is talented and all that. When I heard he was on Dancing with the Stars, I thought, “Obviously.” He is getting older. Even though he doesn’t like to talk about it, his body hurts more than it used to. He was knocking it out of the park every dance this season. I’m not surprised he went so far.
What can you say about Baking All the Way?
Yannick Bisson, who directed, is known for Murdoch Mysteries. It is very popular in Canada and around the world. I had started becoming a semi-regular on that show as a serial killer. So obviously I was his first thought to be cast in a Christmas movie. What was lovely about it is he hired my wife [Debra McGrath] and me to play husband and wife. That was great. We are the owners of a bed and breakfast.
How was it working with your wife on this particular project?
We have a great working relationship. We have an improv show we do from time to time on stage. I’d say the last couple of years we’ve been cast together as husband and wife as opposed to when we first married when people couldn’t see us married. One of us would get the part, and it was usually her because she is a better actress.
How fun are the holidays at the house? Any holiday traditions?
My wife is an unofficial elf. She really does it up. We usually have three trees. The Christmas carols have started up already. When we first got married and since my birthday was on [November] 30th, we had a thing where she wouldn’t start the carols until after my birthday. That’s totally gone now. She just starts playing them. Our main tradition is that my wife, daughter and I get together to watch all the Christmas movies. I think we start out with Grinch, A Charlie Brown Christmas and go into A Christmas Carol and White Christmas. That’s our main tradition. We have a fondue while we are watching. We have a small gathering on Christmas Eve with family and friends with eggnog and sandwiches.
What does it mean to you to be in a Christmas movie?
It’s fun. Last year I got to play Santa Claus. It’s so weird for an actor when you move into that part of your career when you can play Santa Claus. I thought, “Okay, I’m in a whole different area now.” It was fun. Of course, my wife being a Christmas pixie just loves it. It’s that time of year when people tend to be nicer to each other. It is a special time, and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to do these movies and work with great people.
Is Baking All the Way going to be in rotation this year?
No, we never watch our own stuff. That’s a hard rule!
Baking All the Way, Thursday, November 24, 8/7c, Lifetime
Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Fridays, 8/7c, The CW