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Night life: hot ticket

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 2002

The class clown

Brad Sherwood, a regular on the British and American versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, doesn't really think of himself as a comedian -- certainly not in the classic standup definition.

Most comedians write down their material and carefully plan each routine, says Sherwood, who appears for six shows at Tampa's Improv starting today.

"That's what comedians do," the Chicago native told the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently. "Comics are basically writers who need to express themselves through their jokes. I think of myself as sort of the class clown who now manages to get paid for doing all the cutting up I did in school. . . . It's really turning class clown into a profession."

If so, he's near the head of his class as an improv artist. Sherwood started on the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? in 1992. Six years later, he began appearing on Drew Carey's American incarnation, which also features Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady.

"The club act is sort of an offshoot of the Whose Line show," Sherwood says. "Now it's acceptable to be doing improv in comedy clubs, where their bread and butter has always been standup comedy. "So my act is kind of a live version of Whose Line. I'm always impressing upon people that they're not going to see standup. They're going to see live improv, and it's never the same show twice."

Sherwood performs at the Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa, at 8 p.m. today, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are $18 to $22. (813) 864-4000.

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