Wayne Brady: Still making it up

Nothing is off limits for American comedian Wayne Brady when he performs in Wellington next month as part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.

A fully interactive show which invites strong audience participation, Brady says improvisation is the key.

“My show is 100 per cent improvised.

“The kind of improv we do is, I give the audience an opportunity to write down questions or titles of songs that do not exist, and I always tell them, ‘Nothing is off limits’.

“I say that hoping that some will show a little decorum; not a lot of people do.”

Brady finds he either gets a straight answer to a question or the answer will lead to a song or lead to another theme.

“Soon everyone will soon know each other a whole lot better.” Brady’s skills are known to most via the hit television series Whose Line is it Anyway and Don’t Forget the Lyrics. However he says gaining the confidence it takes to perform a spontaneous show comes from years of performing.

“It takes a very long time to gain the confidence to put on a spontaneous show. It’s something you have to work at for a while and I have been acting since I was 16 and performing improv since I was 18 years old.

“It’s one of those things you really need to build on over time.” Prior to starring in Whose Line is it Anyway, Brady says he would never have imagined standing in front of an audience by himself doing improv.

And it’s all down to his beginnings in theatre sports.

“I loved theatre sports, thank God for theatre sports.

“Theatre sports is what got me into improv.”

Brady quickly progressed from playing his parts in theatre sports to becoming a teacher and finally forming his own improv company.

“Being one of the groups that came out of theatre sports is what got me on to Whose Line is it Anyway.”

Moreover Brady is a man of many talents and has enjoyed many roles on Broadway. A few years ago he acted in the musical Chicago as the character Billy Flynn.

“The thing is, people get fooled by the one thing they may know you from like Whose Line is it Anyway and they like you.

“But in reality I have done a ton of dramatic works. I am also a director and a writer. I mean the whole nine yards.”