As readers of this blog know, I’ve been looking forward to next week’s return of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, the very funny improvisational comedy show.
Just in time for that, Colin Mochrie — one of the show’s regular performers — has published a new e-book, “Not Quite The Classics.”
It’s not a very long book, but it’s quite funny. The premise — inspired, not surprisingly, by an old improv game — is that Mochrie takes the first and last line of some literary classic — “Moby Dick,” “1984,” “Casey at the Bat,” “The Great Gatsby,” and so on — and uses them for a new, humorous short story. Sometimes, the new story references or is a parody of the original from which its first and last lines are drawn; in other cases, it goes off in an entirely different direction. Many of the stories involve some sort of genre parody — hard-boiled detective stories, too-precious fantasy novels, “Downton Abbey” and so on.
The parodies are mostly clever, although a few wander and seem like they’re going to turn out to be shaggy dog stories.
There’s one particular entry that really made me laugh, although to describe it further would almost constitute a spoiler. It ends up being a faux-serious treatment of a beloved character from another medium, although you don’t realize this at first. I e-mailed the great columnist, author and blogger James Lileks to tell him that one of the stories in Mochrie’s book reminded me of my favorite piece from Lileks’ humor collection “Fresh Lies.” I have no idea if he’ll even get the e-mail, much less read the book, and I had to be intentionally vague in order to keep from spoiling the story, so the e-mail probably sounded ridiculous.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the book. If you enjoy Colin on “Whose Line,” it’s absolutely worth checking out.