Not Quite The Classics

Hardcover | October 22, 2013

byColin Mochrie

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Colin Mochrie, a man known worldwide for working without a script, tackles the classics in this surprising, delightful collection of stories

Borrowing from a well-known improv game, Mochrie takes the first and last lines from familiar classics and reimagines everything in between. With the same engaging humour he exhibits on stage, television, and film, he takes the reader in bizarre and hilarious new directions.

Imagine Herman Melville's Moby-Dick featuring a killer toupée. Imagine Sherlock Holmes doing stand-up and The Night Before Christmas with a time-travelling twist. This inspired collection is comical, quirky, and clever—classic Mochrie.

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Colin Mochrie, a man known worldwide for working without a script, tackles the classics in this surprising, delightful collection of stories Borrowing from a well-known improv game, Mochrie takes the first and last lines from familiar classics and reimagines everything in between. With the same engaging humour he exhibits on stage, te...

Colin Mochrie was born in Scotland and grew up in Canada. He is best known for his roles on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and as host of Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? He was influenced by the writings of Charles Dickens, Dr. Seuss, and Stephen King, and fulfilled his lifelong ambition to write a b...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.55 × 5.64 × 0.97 inPublished:October 22, 2013Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670066575

ISBN - 13:9780670066575

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Clever, well-written homages and parodies that hit the funny bone If you're even a casual fan of Colin Mochrie, then you already know that he is a funny, funny man. He has a peculiar sort of humor, blending Canadian stereotypical politeness with an often surprising edge, but he is as clever as he is frantic. When I first hear he was taking the Whose Line is it Anyway approach to a short story collection with Not Quite the Classics, I knew I was going to have to read it. A Study in Ha Ha opens the collection with a Sherlock Holmes homage so absurd, so inconceivable, it works astoundingly well. In it, Holmes decides to make a study of jokes, with the intention of becoming the world's first stand-up comic. Moby: Toupee or Not Toupee is a tale of a different sort, a blackly comic horror story about a bald man who lacks confidence, and the living toupee that does far more than just boost his self-esteem. One of the early highlights of the collection is Casey at the Bar, a straight up homage of Casey at the bat, with Colin's version being the story of a washed up Leaf's goalie. Funny stuff, and as it enjoys a few wildly humorous tangents. My favorite entry, however, has to be A Tale of Two Critters. It's written as a very stuffy Dickensian tale, capturing the narrative essence of the original, which actually suits the story of poor old Wile E. Coyote very well. Without spoiling it, let's just say that anybody who's ever wanted to see the roadrunner get his due won't be disappointed! The Cat and My Dad is another rhyming tale, this time putting a very Seussian spin on the post-apocalyptic zombie story. It's a fun story, surprisingly dark given the singsong verse, and it reminds us precisely why polite, law-abiding, poorly-armed Canadians would have a hard time with zombies. Along the same lines, Twas Not Right Before Christmas continues the rhyming lyrical theme, offering up a Twilight Zone mash-up of all the holiday standards, coming together under one man's roof. If there's any justice in the world, this will be the next animated holiday special . . . just please don't let Tim Allen or Adam Sandler be involved. While I had hopes that Not Quite the Classics would be funny, I honestly did not expect it to be as clever and as well-written as it is. Clearly, Mochrie put a lot of thought and imagination into his story choices, and while a few missed my funny bone, other had me laughing out loud (and driving my wife crazy with my insistence on reading passages aloud). How each story will hit you depends as much on your sense of humor as your familiarity with the source material, but it's an entertaining bunch of tales.
Date published: 2014-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Made me giggle, groan and laugh out loud! Colin Mochrie is best known for being a master of improvisational comedy.  By his own admission he went into improv because he does not like to work; "I am not a fan of work.  One of the reasons I became an improvisor was so that my workload would be light.  I don't have to learn lines or go for wardrobe fittings ... I just need a stage." When encouraged to write a book – he balked – after all how can you translate improv into the spoken word and of course it sounded like a lot of work.  Unrelenting, he was challenged to write a book of short stories, taking the first line and the last line of classic works of literature and inventing a new story that fits between.  The challenge was taken resulting in Not Quite the Classics and in my opinion the challenge was well met. With his undeniable comedic talent and his slightly off-beat sense of humor Mr. Mochrie has taken 12 well known classics and transformed them into entertaining works of humor.  Although he in no way stays true to the setting, the story, or even the characters I was impressed with how he managed to maintain the feel of the original through language and dialogue. Whether it was Sherlock Holmes trying to learn stand-up comedy in “A Study in Ha-Ha” (A Study in Scarlett), finally getting the history behind the coyote and the roadrunner in “A Tale of Two Critters” (A Tale of Two Cities) or reworking both “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Casey At The Bat” this book had me giggling, groaning and laughing out loud.   Obviously, never taking himself too seriously, the pictures of Mr. Mochrie in full costume as the main character at the beginning of each rework made me chuckle before I even started reading.  Well done … I hope there might be another one coming with even more first-line/last-line reworks.
Date published: 2014-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie A great premise for a group of short stories. Very funny and a little warped in places as you'd expect from Colin. "A Tale of Two Critters" was my fave.
Date published: 2013-11-24

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Editorial Reviews

“Colin Mochrie is devastatingly handsome, perilously smart, and smells like warm maple syrup. Step inside his hilarious and complex mind, and abandon all hope.” - Aisha Tyler“Colin’s greatest attributes are his unique sense of humor, his kindness to his fellow man, and his uncanny ability to retain everything I’ve taught him the last 30 years.” - Ryan Stiles“I adore Colin Mochrie. I think he is brilliant, so talented AND a dear sweet man. Also, he’s funny as well and a good kisser!” - Florence Henderson“Colin Mochrie is a comedic and creative force to be reckoned with. Therefore, this book is a literary force to be reckoned with. If you are too lazy for reckoning, just read this book and everything will work out nicely.” - Brad Sherwood“I love Colin. I love his voice. I love his lips. I love his eyeballs. His pecs. And the rest of him. I’m going to Paris with him soon.” - Richard Simmons