Comedian and improvisationist extraordinaire Wayne Brady returns to his home state of Florida on Friday with Wayne Brady and Friends, his touring improv comedy show. Although he unfortunately hails from the wasteland of Orlando, Brady nevertheless defends the soulless heart of the Disney empire.
"You have to move on at some point, and I knew that if I wanted to further my career, I couldn't stay in Orlando," Brady says. "I felt there were bigger things for me. But, that being said, Orlando was the most incredible place to get your start. I got my SAG card there, my equity card there, I got tons of experience, I learned improv there, I learned how to deal with an audience. I basically got all my learning there in Florida, and then I decided to take it to the next level."
So after years of school plays and local theater, Brady moved on to Las Vegas, then Los Angeles. Today, he can be seen on two ABC shows, Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Wayne Brady Show. Along with the improv comedy and variety shows, Brady is set to host a daytime talk show this summer, making him one of the most oft-seen faces on the boob tube.
"It's called Wayne," says the comedian of his show. "I think a lot of the talk shows on the air now are either the ones that are issue-based -- like a Montel or Oprah or Maury Povich -- or shock value. Mine is more like Rosie. In fact, it's pretty much designed to try to fill the void left when Rosie leaves the air. It's a little different, because it's not just celebrity chat. It's like, your favorite star comes on plugging their latest TV show or their film, but did you also know that this person also dances, that this person is also a singer, that this person also has some kind of talent? So the way we're booking the show is, if you have no talent, then you can't come on the show."
Aside from suggesting that being on TV or in films takes no talent, this spiel by Brady reveals one of the distinguishing characteristics of the man. Brady is always looking for a new idea. Among his other plans are forays into the video-game world. A self-described "huge video-game geek," Brady hopes one day to create both a Mad Libs-style improv video game and a shoot-'em-up. Hardly surprising coming from a man whose Website currently features a Web-based karate game titled "Super Double Mortal Dragon Combat Fighter Champ II." But all future plans in television and geektronics aside, Brady still enjoys the live audience most of all.
"I love being able to come up on stage and bring that to the people," he says. "It's a real kick. I think I dig doing the live performance in some aspects more than I enjoy doing television. The pros of doing it live in front of an audience in a different city every other night is the fact that I get a chance that few performers do. I get to meet the people that watch the show. And that's great."