(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
|(Photo courtesy of Wayne Brady)
Improvisational comedian, singer and actor Wayne Brady had the audience doubling over with laughter at the Wilbur Theatre Saturday night. Best known for his work on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Brady has been performing improv comedy for decades.
He can be seen on YouTube clad in a one-piece black spandex suit doing the running man with Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown, or acting as a pimping, drug dealing thug on an episode of “Chappelle’s Show.”
In his show, Brady used audience members as props and sound effects to act out different skits. He took words or phrases that the audience yelled out, and he and his sidekick Jonathan Mangum would create a scene. The keyboardist on stage provided background music and would exercise his powers by yelling out “New choice.” On those words, the actors would change the direction of a scene or do a scene backwards or in slow motion.
The Emmy award-winning Brady had a television talk show, “The Wayne Brady Show,” and formerly hosted the popular game show “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”
From “30 Rock” to performing on Broadway in Chicago to his appearance on “Everybody Hates Chris,” Brady is the quintessential Renaissance man. He recently provided a voice for the upcoming animated feature, “Foodfight!” for Lions Gate and was featured in Fox Searchlight’s “Roll Bounce.”
In 2008, the twice-divorced father of one dropped his album “A Long Time Coming.” His cover of “A Change is Gonna Come” earned him a Grammy nomination.
It’s hard to believe this versatile Gemini from Georgia, with legions of fans and more than 25,000 Twitter followers used to suffer from a stutter and was bullied in school.
Last week, the Banner caught up with the humble and multi-talented Brady who talked about his career, his favorite place in the world and his upcoming sophomore album.
Since you can do everything, how did you decide what to focus your energy on first?
I really didn’t. One thing didn’t follow the other. Back then everybody had to do everything. It was what was expected of you. I didn’t say ‘Oh I know how to do this so let me do this.’ I wanted to be in the best possible position to get a job.
The public gets saturated with negative news about celebrities all the time. What is something positive that you want the public to know about?
There’s negative and made up stuff almost all the time. I want the public to know that I’m a big supporter of children’s charities. I will do anything I can to help kids. Kids food projects, education and arts programs.
Do you come from a talented family where everyone can sing and you all play jokes on each other?
[Laughing] No! I don’t sit on the couch singing to my family members. We are a regular family. That’s funny. I have so many images in my head right now of that.
Well growing up I always thought that being one of the Wayans would be like that. All of those hilarious siblings had to be up to something all the time.
You know, people do think that kind of stuff. Like I’m always being funny or living a certain way. They think I’m in the club popping bottles.
Right and making it rain.
Exactly! But when I’m home I’m probably the most boring person. I am usually playing video games, writing or reading a book.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Nice! I’ve never been.
What? Why? You need to get your butt up and go now. You’re in Boston; that weather up there is cold!
I know I’m missing out. When you are in Hawaii, do you surf?
I don’t surf or anything because I don’t swim too well. Most people would be like ‘Hey guys look at me swimming.’ For me it would be like, ‘Hey guys look I’m dead.’
How do you feel about your spot in the Urban Dictionary that defines Wayne Brady as a dude who is proper and respectful in front of people normally, but when it’s just you and him you find out he’s mad gangsta? The second definition says you are a man who makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcolm X.
You know I saw that; you can’t a judge a book by its cover. I have learned to take stuff like that as a compliment instead of getting offended.
I heard you singing on Brian McKnight’s Gemini album. The timbre of your voices is almost imperceptible. Please tell me you are working on another album.
Thanks! Brian was a big influence for me and he put me on to the people that influenced him like Sam Cooke and Stevie Wonder. I am working on an album now. I just signed with Big 3 Records through Sony. I think folks are going to dig it. It’s like old smooth melodies but with current drums. There’s no auto tune going on. I just wanted to make music that’s fun and that sticks around for a while. It sounds simple but it’s hard to do.
How do you test your material or do you?
I only do written stuff when I have to. Like when I did the NAACP Image Awards that stuff was written. Everything else is all improv. I have more fun that way. Some people may write their stuff and perfect those jokes, but I can just walk on stage and be funny. I don’t consider myself to be an arrogant person, but that’s my swag. It’s my one conceit.
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