Wayne Brady, who came to fame on TV’s improvisational comedy show “Whose Line is it Anyway,” calls it a misconception that he is a comedian. He’s really an actor.“I’m basically writing and directing and performing in a quick little play that happens to be done on the fly right in front of you,” said Brady, 40, in a phone interview before his Saturday night show at Washington State University.
If when growing up you’re a kid whose parents don’t have money for many toys, you have few friends, you read a lot of books and own a vivid imagination, you might start making things up for a living. For Brady those ingredients led to three Emmy Awards for his daytime talk show “The Wayne Brady Show” and a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his 2008 single “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
“I actually got on my knees and started crying,” he said about the Grammy nod. “When people read this, if I sound like a baby, too bad. When you know in your heart something could happen and you achieve that, that’s amazing. It’s something I would wish for everybody.”
It’s one highlight in a career that includes appearances on TV shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “30 Rock,” and “Chappelle’s Show.” He’s acted in film, had a successful Las Vegas stage show, and appeared on Broadway in “Chicago.” Currently, he hosts the revival of the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” He’ll be on “Whose Line is it Anyway” when it returns to TV in July on the CW network.
The anything-can-happen spontaneity and audience involvement of “Whose Line is it Anyway” is what Brady offers in his touring show. Brady will perform with Jonathan Mangum and play many of the games featured on the show. Audience members will be invited to write song titles and a keyboardist will create music with Brady on the spot. The audience will also be able to submit questions to the performers who will mingle among them.
“The answer may lead to a song, or a new scene,” Brady said.
“It’s an unpredictable, awesome, no boundaries type of theater. That’s what makes it such a freeing thing,” he said. “It’s a tightwire rope you’re walking. The audience wants to see you succeed and the audience wants to see you fail. If you fail with commitment and fail funnily, that’s great.”
WHO: Comedian Wayne Brady
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: WSU Beasley Coliseum, Pullman
COST: $49.50 with a $5 discount for WSU students, faculty and staff
TICKETS: Ticketswest.com or (800) 325-7328