Colin Mochrie, one of the stars of Trust Us With Your Life, ABC's new improv comedy show, claims he has "the best job in the world for a lazy guy."
Other performers on TV, namely actors, go to great pains to research the roles they play. Before they portray cops, doctors and forensics specialists, they shadow their real-life counterparts. They ride along in squad cars, observe surgeries and visit morgues. They sweat the details.
Mochrie and his fellow improvisers don't bother with any of that.
"The beauty of improv," Mr. Lazy Guy says, "is that I can make everything up on the spot."
In Trust Us With Your Life, which premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, celebrities such as Mark Cuban, Ricky Gervais and Jerry Springer tell stories about pivotal moments in their lives.
Then a team of quick-on-their-feet improv comedians -- Mochrie, Wayne Brady, Jonathan Mangum and others -- re-enact those anecdotes, spicing them up with moments of inspired lunacy.
The show comes from the same production team and talent pool that turned Whose Line Is It Anyway? into TV's first successful improv comedy series in the 1990s.
Mochrie, a man who will do anything for a laugh, was a near-constant presence on Whose Line back in the day. Ever since, whenever somebody gets the bright idea to launch a new improv show, he is on the short list of go-to performers.
"It's the only skill I have," he says. "So why not exploit it in some way?"
Few and far between are the people who can create laugh-out-loud material from whole cloth the way improv comedians do. Many of the most successful stand-up comedians and sitcom stars are hopelessly out of their element when they have no idea what the next line is going to be.
Mochrie, on the other hand, relishes living on the comedy edge.
"Going out onstage with absolutely no show is dangerous," he says. "We don't have the slightest idea what we're going to do. But it's the most relaxed I am in life. I know somehow that it will work out."
Mochrie's wife often refers to the comic wild man he becomes on TV as "The Other," because that is a totally different person from the quiet, shy, retiring man he is in daily life.
"There is something about being on that show where I have no shame," Mochrie says. "One minute, I'm pretending I'm a chicken. The next, I'll do something else that is equally idiotic.
"And afterward, if I'm watching myself on the show, I see things I have no recollection of doing and I'll wonder, 'Where did that come from?'"
Mochrie's tongue is firmly in cheek when he says he hopes Trust Us With Your Life will have a profound effect on viewers' lives, that it will educate them and inspire them to achieve great things.
"Every episode is a learning experience," he declares with a straight face. "I think the viewer will watch us and go away with a richer life and will know something new about the human condition."
Failing that, at least the viewer can laugh when Mochrie & Co. crack jokes.
"It's really hard to get puffed up about what we do," Mochrie says. "We tend to denigrate what we do because, in many ways, it is pretty goofy.
"But over the years, I've had lots of people come up and thank me for what I do. I've heard lots of stories like, 'My father and I would watch Whose Line when he was dying of cancer, so I want to thank you for making his last couple of months filled with laughter.'
"It's nice to remember now and then that there's nothing wrong with providing entertainment. It's a nice thing to be able to make someone forget about everything for a few minutes except laughing."