When funnyman Colin Mochrie shared a family photo online, trolls began attacking his daughter. So, the comedian delivered the perfect response to their taunts. And now the Whose Line Is It Anyway? star is being praised for defending his daughter.
Mochrie came into the world on November 30, 1957, in Kilmarnock, Scotland. When he was a child, his family moved to a town near Montreal, Quebec, in Canada. Then, they relocated once again a few years later – this time to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mochrie describes himself as having been a loner in his youth. And although he would go on to have success in the comedy world, he’d in fact originally wanted to become a marine biologist when he grew up. However, that all changed once his friend convinced him to try out for a play called The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch.
When Mochrie made the audience laugh with his performance as an undertaker, he realized that that was what he wanted to do for a living. So after finishing high school, where he was valedictorian, he went to learn theater at Studio 58 in Vancouver. And it was there that Mochrie got acquainted with improvisational comedy.
Mochrie went on to join the Vancouver TheatreSports League, where he would perform comedy, and then worked for The Second City touring company. Then in 1989 he did an audition for the British improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? However, the comedian was initially not offered a part.
That rejection didn’t deter Mochrie, though, as he auditioned two further times for the television series. And after briefly appearing on the show after his second audition, the third tryout landed him a regular spot. Mochrie then served as a cast member on the hit program for seven years – until it came to an end in 1998.
The British Whose Line Is It Anyway? lasted for ten seasons in total. And having originally started as a radio show, it certainly became a success on the small screen. Other comedians who appeared on the Clive Anderson-hosted series include Stephen Fry, Ryan Stiles and Paul Merton.
Then, when the show came to an end, an American version began airing – with both Mochrie and Stiles appearing as regular cast members alongside Wayne Brady. The U.S. adaptation of the show was hosted by Drew Carey and ran on ABC and then ABC Family.
The American Whose Line Is It Anyway? originally lasted until 2007, at which point Mochrie turned to other projects. The 61-year-old has appeared on The Drew Carey Show as well as She’s The Mayor and served as the host of Are You Smarter Than A Canadian 5th Grader?
However, it’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? for which Mochrie is best known. And, indeed, a remake of the improvisational show has been airing on The CW since 2013. The new version is hosted by Aisha Tyler and features current celebrities who may or may not be comedians.
Mochrie and Stiles both returned for the revival, and the series has gained popularity around the world once again. Interestingly, there is also an Australian adaptation of the show that screened for the first time in 2016.
But let’s get back to the story of our Scottish-born Canadian comedian and his family. Now before he got his big break with the comedy series, Mochrie had fallen for his wife, Debra McGrath – who was born in Toronto, Ontario, back in 1954. After reading theater at Ryerson University, McGrath worked for and later took the helm at the Second City National Touring Company, and it was there that she and Mochrie met.
McGrath appeared in the first season of the television series Paradise Falls, and she has also worked with her husband on camera. The actress and Mochrie both appeared in the sitcom Getting Along Famously as well as kids’ TV show Seven Little Monsters.
Then in 2003 McGrath helped form the female comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed. The group would perform sketches together about everyday issues that women deal with. However, the now-64-year-old left for pastures new in 2009.
Meanwhile, Mochrie and McGrath had married on January 8, 1989. And the following year, they then welcomed their first child, who was born in Toronto. Yes, the couple are parents to a transgender daughter named Kinley.
Kinley had been assigned male at birth on September 3, 1990, and her name was originally Luke. However, in 2017, after seeking permission from his daughter, Mochrie later revealed through the medium of Twitter that Kinley is transgender.
“My 90-year-old mother-in-law and 87-year-old mother’s love and acceptance of our trans daughter warms me,” Mochrie tweeted. “Wonder why some who are younger can’t.” He added, “The negative is that my mom refers to the community as BLT. It’s a learning curve.”
In March 2017 Mochrie then revealed that Kinley had announced her transition to the family during the previous year. And when she had told her father that she identifies as female, his first instinct was, he said, to protect her. During a joint interview on Canadian TV show The National, the comedian stated that his first thought had been “God, let her be safe.”
Mochrie also confessed that it had taken the family some time to get used to the new normal. “You go through this thing,” he said. “Now my child has changed gender, does that mean that previous child is now gone?”
Before long, though, Mochrie came to see that Kinley is “the exact same kid” but just with “a different coat on.” And yet he hadn’t expected the response that he would receive to the tweet about his daughter. “I think we were both idiotic in a way,” he admitted.
Even so, Mochrie had, naturally, had the best of intentions. He continued, “I didn’t really think of the full ramifications. I just thought, ‘I’m just putting this positive thing out there.’” And one year later, the comedian continues to deal with trolls in the virtual world.
On Kinley’s birthday in September 2018, Mochrie shared a photo that shows him smiling alongside McGrath and Kinley. “Happy Birthday to my lovely daughter! 28 years old and everything we’ve ever hoped for in a child,” he wrote on Facebook alongside the snapshot.
Since being put online, the post has, at the time of writing, been liked more than 38,000 times. And yet not everyone’s response was supportive. Indeed, it didn’t take long for some internet users to leave cruel comments underneath the photo.
Most of the negative comments were quickly deleted. However, Mochrie wasn’t about to let the trolls get away with maligning his daughter. So, he followed up the photo with a post that left social media users applauding him for the way in which he is supporting Kinley.
“Thanks to the fans of this page for being supportive and human,” Mochrie wrote. “To the trolls, my thoughts and prayers to your body for losing its mind and soul so tragically.” That comment was liked more than 8,000 times – and fans spoke out to praise the comedian for coming to his daughter’s defense.
One commenter shared what they felt it had meant for trans people. They wrote, “Thank you for supporting trans folks. We’re just trying to live our lives. We need love and acceptance like anyone else. So proud of your daughter and happy for your wonderful family.”
Another person agreed that they had welcomed the positivity. They commented, “Thank you for being you and for loving your daughter unconditionally. Seems strange that we have to thank people for that, but such are the times we live in. Keep being awesome.”
Meanwhile, other families of members of the transgender community declared how much Mochrie’s words meant to them. “Fellow parent of a trans child here… Your family is BEAUTIFUL, and you set the bar for parents everywhere to love their kids unconditionally!” a third commenter wrote. And someone else added, “You’re a shining example of how fathers with trans kids should be. Thank you for that.”
Since Kinley revealed that she identifies as female, Mochrie has, furthermore, become an advocate for the LGBTQ community. The star attended 2018’s Pride Toronto, for instance, and has also talked about transgender rights. And in 2017 he told The Canadian Press, “If I can do something to help anyone who is perceived as different, then I’m always there.”
Interestingly, too, Mochrie has admitted that his experience with improvisational comedy helped him to come to terms with his daughter’s transition. It is widely known that a rule of thumb in improv is the phrase “Yes, and…” This means that a comedian is supposed to accept what their partner suggests and then add to it.
And Mochrie says it’s not only a useful tool within the comedy world – but that it has also been eye-opening for himself and McGrath. “We’ve started saying yes – within limits – and it’s taken us to these amazing places and amazing people,” he told The National. “So I do think improv actually did help with this. You accept what someone has given you, and you build on that.”
Kinley herself admits that the situation has demanded some adjustments. But she feels fortunate that she always knew her parents would love her unconditionally. “It took some time, but I knew that support and acceptance was on the other side,” she explained. “I was not worried for a second.”
Mochrie’s daughter knows, then, that she is fortunate to have such accepting parents. Yet not everyone is so lucky. Laverne Cox is one of the world’s most famous transgender stars, but she had a difficult time hiding who she really was while growing up.
Cox’s mother only found out about her child’s true identity after Cox took part in a video series about transgender people several years ago. Then in 2013 Cox became an overnight sensation thanks to her role in Netflix prison drama Orange Is the New Black. However, as an adolescent, Cox had been taught by her church that it is a sin to be attracted to members of the same sex.
Cox therefore consumed a bottle of pills to try and kill herself. But fortunately, she survived – and continued to keep her secret. “I just went to sleep and woke up with a terrible stomach ache, and no one ever knew,” she told U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Cox added that she had realized from a young age that she was meant to be born female. “As a child I knew everyone was telling me that I was a boy, but I felt like a girl,” she told the publication. “I thought I would hit puberty and just start turning into a girl.”
Tragically, suicide attempts such as Cox’s are not unusual. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018 revealed that almost 30 percent of transgender female teenagers who took part in the survey had tried to kill themselves, while more than 50 percent of the transgender male teens surveyed had attempted the same.
Given statistics such as that, it’s not hard to see why Mochrie wants to do his part to help the community. And when he’s not advocating for transgender rights, the 61-year-old is preparing for the 15th season of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Yes, the show was renewed in October 2018.
Mochrie is also appearing in the upcoming movie Astronaut and recently starred in the television film The Mission. But it seems that nothing is more important to him than his family. And while he’s still getting used to what it means to be the father of a transgender daughter, the comedian appears to be doing his best.
“We knew Luke for 26 years, so it was very hard to quickly change that. And even now, there’s still times when we slip. We’re certainly a lot better,” Mochrie told The Canadian Press. But in the end, he confirms, “So we now have a Kinley.”