Colin Mochrie has made audiences laugh for over two decades on the British and American versions of the hit improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? But when he’s not displaying his quick wit on stage, very little is known about the uber-talented funnyman. Here’s what we can tell you about Mochrie and the projects he’s involved in outside of WLIIA?
Who Is Colin Mochrie?
Colin Mochrie is a Scottish-born Canadian comedian best known for appearing on every American episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Mochrie, 63, got his start immediately after training at Studio 58, a professional theatre training school in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1980, he met fellow WLIIA? co-star Ryan Stiles while working for the improv company Vancouver TheatreSports League. The two reunited a few years later when they worked as writers and performers for The Second City comedy troupe in Toronto.
During this time, Mochrie began dating the director of the Second City National Touring Company, Debra McGrath. The couple married in 1989 and had a child, Kinley, in 1990.
Shortly after relocating to Los Angeles with his new family, Mochrie was selected to become a cast member on the British version of Whose Line Is it Anyway? After a seven-season run, he joined the American version, where he became a beloved primetime face alongside Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and Drew Carey.
Colin Mochrie Is One Of The Stars Of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’
Whose Line Is It Anyway? premiered on August 5, 1998 on ABC. The format was a master class in improv comedy. It required a panel of four performers—Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and a guest panelist—to create funny short-form scenes based on audience suggestions and prompts from host Drew Carey.
“I think the guys on Whose Line? were all aware of how lucky we were that this show came along and gave us all careers and a chance to do improv around the world,” Mochrie told the Erie Reader in 2018. “It seems now that in every city there is an incredible core of improvisers, which is great.”
One factoid that fans may not know is that Mochrie took some serious risks to earn laughs. In one game titled “Party Quirks,” he guessed people’s gender by touching their intimate body parts. The performance was deemed unsuitable for network TV and relegated to a DVD edition of the series.
“Not that all our scenes are dirty, but on television, there is that concern in the back of your mind because you’re never really sure where the line is,” Mochrie explained. “Also on television, you have so many people involved in the final product—network executives, producers, and so forth. What I love about the stage is everything depends on us. If the show sucks, it’s because we suck; if it goes well, it’s because we did well.”
Even if Mochrie was a victim of censorship, his career didn’t suffer for it. To date, he’s appeared on every episode of WLIIA? (Ryan Stiles falls a hair short of his co-star’s record, missing two episodes in season 10.)
‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Is Still Airing
WLIIA? originally aired on ABC and ABC Family from 1998 to 2007. However, the show was given a second life on The CW in 2013. To date, all three original panelists—Mochrie, Brady, and Stiles—are still on the series. However, host Drew Carey has been replaced by Aisha Tyler.
As the crew enters its seventeenth season in January 2021, it appears that they haven’t lost their touch. Mochrie is as funny as ever—perhaps because he spent his time between seasons keeping his skills sharp.
What Is Colin Mochrie Doing Today?
Mochrie has been involved in various projects outside of WLIIA? In 2012, he wrote Not Quite The Classics, a humorous book that married improv with literature. Each chapter began and ended with lines from classic books; everything in between was improvised by Mochrie.
“[The process] was horrific,” he told the Daily Free Press. “With writing a book, you’re by yourself — you don’t have anyone to throw your ideas against. It’s just you and you don’t get that immediate reaction of a laugh when you write something funny. When you do improv you can see, ‘oh, the audience likes that, they laughed.’ But with a book, you’re just hoping that, while I find it funny, I hope that the rest of the world does.”
He also stays busy touring with fellow comedian Brad Sherwood. Their interactive improv show, Stream of Consciousness, gives guests a chance to witness his talent without the burden of network censors. (“I mean, you’re not going to learn anything or leave any smarter, but you’ll have a couple of laughs,” Mochrie told the Erie Reader.)
Mochrie avoids political comedy, but in his personal life, he’s an active supporter of trans rights. In 2018, he attended a protest in support of his transgender daughter Kinley. The group had gathered to demand a more inclusive sex-ed curriculum in schools. One year earlier, Mochrie tweeted a simple but powerful statement in regard to his daugther:
“I grew up in a time when there really wasn’t any sexual education,” Mochrie told CBC. “Everything I learned was on the streets, a lot of misinformation a lot of rumors. It was a time of a lot of homophobic slurs, slut-shaming, a lot of things that were totally inappropriate and all came from ignorance.”
It’s no surprise that Mochrie is such a great dad. It seems like he’s the kind of guy who cherishes his family more than any of the laughs he’s earned. “I feel happiest when I’m at home with my wife and [daughter],” he told the Daily Free Press. “We have a really nice family dynamic. We have a lot of fun together… I find just being with my family really does buoy me up.”