Wayne Brady

Wayne Brady

Wayne Brady: It’s my line

Improv master Wayne Brady chats about his passion for performing

Despite the laughter Wayne Brady elicits during his improvisational performances, the versatile entertainer emphasizes that he is not a comedian; rather, “I’m an actor who happens to do improvisation that happens to be funny,” he says. “It’s an art and that has nothing to do with being funny; funny is the byproduct.”

Growing up in Florida, Brady began performing at age 16. “I started acting in my junior year of high school,” Brady says, recalling the impact of his first role, in Dark of the Moon, a drama by Howard Richardson and William Berney set in the Appalachian mountains.

“I found my calling,” he says. “It was a freeing experience. It touched me in a way that made me happy.”

Starting to sing around the same time – a talent he calls on often in his improv work – exposure to an array of musical styles growing up has served him well.

“I was exposed to all different types of music and music styles – show tunes, ‘50s and ’60s, disco, country, opera and folk – whatever was on the radio at that particular time I would listen to.”

A film co-star later introduced him to an improv class and “I fell in love with it because of how freeing it was,” he recalls.

A regular role on TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? improv hit introduced Brady to audiences throughout North America, and earned him an Emmy Award, an honour he later repeated as host of his syndicated talk/variety show, The Wayne Brady Show; the show was also recognized as Outstanding Talk Show. Since then, he has appeared on The Dave Chappelle Show, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and Don’t Forget the Lyrics.

Beyond television, career highlights have included Broadway and a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his single “A Change is Gonna Come” off his debut musical album, A Long Time Coming. Significant “firsts” included being the first African American to host the Miss America Pageant and the first actor to win both Daytime and Nighttime Emmys in the same year, he notes.

With such a diverse resume, each entertainment vehicle offers its own appeal, but he particularly enjoys the immediacy of live performances, he says.

With improvisation, there’s an element that comes naturally, he reflects, but other skills are nurtured through education and life experience. “You can teach a way of thinking which in my mind is like being a child almost. You can’t be in improv and not be well-read; you have to know a little about a lot.” At the same time, “your imagination has to come without any parameters, just like a kid’s.”

What can audiences expect from his Nov. 8 show, part of his 2014 It’s My Line tour, at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium?

Rooted in audience participation, “it’s an improv concert, plain and simple. Everything is completely spontaneous and made up and we use audience members on stage (and for ideas),” Brady says.

Coming up for Brady is another season of Whose Line is it Anyway? and his sixth season hosting Let’s Make A Deal. He has a recurring role in Real Husbands of Hollywood and is working on two shows with his production partner, including a sitcom based on his life. All that and a new record he hopes will be out next year.

When he’s not at work? “I spend time with my daughter and we do daddy and daughter things,” playing video games, going to the beach or writing music together. At 11-years-old, “She’s definitely a performer and she wants to (perform.) We just left that completely up to her, and she knows school comes first.”

Who would Brady like to work with? Woody Allen quickly comes to mind, along with John Leguizamo, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. The opportunity to work with Crystal and Goldberg’s friend, the late, great Robin Williams, on Whose Line is it Anyway? stands as an unforgettable career highlight.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Most Read