Penguin Canada to Publish Colin Mochrie's Not Quite the Classics
January 5, 2012 (Toronto) – Penguin, the world's pre-eminent publisher of classic literature, has acquired publishing rights to the debut book from a man known worldwide for working without a script. COLIN MOCHRIE, the popular award-winning actor and world-renowned master of improv, will release NOT QUITE THE CLASSICS for publication in fall 2012. The book was acquired by Commissioning Editor Adrienne Kerr from agent Carly Watters at the P.S. Literary Agency.
Best known for his roles in Whose Line Is It Anyway? and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Colin Mochrie has been making international audiences laugh for over 25 years. He entertains 80,000 audience members a year on his international improv tour with fellow improviser Brad Sherwood. Mr. Mochrie recently filmed an upcoming primetime series for a major US network, to be announced shortly.
In Not Quite the Classics, he has penned a cheeky literary spin-off of the improv game: First Line, Last Line, taking the first line and last line from classic books, poems, and songs and recasting the stories in directions that will delight and entertain readers with the same outrageous and offside humour he exhibits on stage, television and film. The book will target classics as wide ranging as The Cat in the Hat and Slaughterhouse-Five.
"When I was at Second City," says the actor, "after the main sketch show we would do an improvised set, occasionally finding a concept that would inspire us to work on it, shape it, and tighten it until it was ready to be in the next revue. Writing this way reminded me of that, except that I was rested and sober. Good times."
Mochrie’s rules for writing the book? Simple:
1) Go with the first idea and stick with it. In improv, you go with the first thing that pops into your mind. The beauty with writing is that you can edit, rewrite and hopefully improve the story. With some of the "suggestions" the story came immediately, in others sometimes it didn’t arrive until it wanted to. Man, plots can be stubborn.
2) Don't feel obligated to stick to the original genre, meaning or punctuation of the "suggestions". The punctuation part was particularly freeing. The opening line of Moby Dick, "Call me Ishmael" can have its meaning changed with a simple comma. Call me, Ishmael. Hmm, I may use that.
3) I don't have a third rule. I just like the number 3.
Says Mochrie, "Basically, like most college kids, I'm pretty lazy. I know the story in the middle is probably interesting but I'd rather just make up my own. And luckily, now I'm getting paid to do it."
"The tone of the book," says Penguin editor Adrienne Kerr, "will be peculiar, outlandish and hilarious – trademark Mochrie. Colin brings his clever humour and signature wit to "rewrites" of the classics, and every story is quirky and outrageously funny. Readers will love this collection."
About the Author
Colin Andrew Mochrie, born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, has lived in Vancouver, Montreal, Los Angeles and Toronto. He is best known for his roles in Whose Line Is It Anyway? and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and as host of Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? as well as numerous guest appearances in film and television. A regular for nine years on the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Mochrie starred in the hit American version for eight seasons on ABC (and then on ABC Family) turning in 22 million US viewers a night at its peak and becoming a worldwide sensation in syndication. He performs on stage at over 50 tour dates a year at sold out venues all over North America. His recent primetime improv show Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza, filmed in Las Vegas, aired on the Game Show Network (GSN) to 75 million subscribers across the U.S., Canada and Central America. His upcoming US network show, soon to be announced, was filmed in London in October. Mochrie lives in Toronto with his wife, actress Debra McGrath and their son Luke.