Interview with Wayne Brady
As proven by Wayne Brady's Comedy IQ, the mind of comedic master Wayne Brady is a fascinating place.
Jump inside his thinking process and learn more about how he views comedy in the exclusive interview with BYUtv Insider below.
BYUtv Insider: What was your favorite funny movie when you were a kid?
Wayne Brady: Just off the top of my head, I'd have to say a tie: Blazing Saddles and—oh, three! Blazing Saddles, The Blues Brothers, Young Frankenstein. Oh, four, and Stripes. A four-way tie. A four-way tie, and it's a four-way tie because each of those films, even before I knew anything about wanting to be funny, showed me a different facet.
BYUtv Insider: Do you feel like you were a class clown when you were young? Were you always funny? When did you realize that comedy was for you?
Wayne Brady: Never a class clown. I've been asked that question before, and I think that when someone makes their living in comedy, immediately someone goes, "You must've been a class clown." Just because you're a plumber doesn't mean, "You must've loved valves or the hot water heater. You hung out with—" No. I think in school I was very much the way that I am now. Off-camera, I don't think I'm a wet blanket, but I'm definitely not Mr. Haha, Giggle Giggle.
BYUtv Insider: Why do you think comedy's important?
Wayne Brady: Every person walking the earth, and this is going to be a horrible analogy, but I always think we're all—just think of yourself as a tea kettle. We all have water in it, we're all going along. You work, you live life, things happen. If you don't have the release for the steam to come out, the water flies everywhere, somebody gets burnt, and it's not a good look for anyone. Comedy is an escape. It helps you laugh at other things, and it helps you laugh at yourself.
BYUtv Insider: So you're a singer-songwriter. You've done Broadway, television, stand-up, hosting improve—all of it. You do it all. Could you pick a favorite out of everything that you do?
Wayne Brady: I can't. I'm not being coy, or like, "I couldn't pick, because I love them all." No, I actually cannot pick; because of my particular journey, they all go hand in hand. If I was not a musician, I wouldn't be having this talk with you, because if I hadn't started doing musical theater at a young age, and loving music and training myself as a musician, then I would never have learned the type of improv that I do and learned to do musical sketch. Every single thing informs the other; my acting informs my singing, my singing informs my comedy, my comedy informs the acting, and I have to do all of them.
BYUtv Insider: That's so cool, to see how you got to where you are. If you could do a comedy show with any other comedian, alive or dead, who would you pick?
Wayne Brady: Robin Williams.
BYUtv Insider: Robin Williams, wow.
Wayne Brady: And I got a chance to work with Robin on Whose Line. He's someone who I, since I was a young child, always admired his brain.
BYUtv Insider: Wayne, do you prefer doing comedy solo or with an ensemble, with a group?
Wayne Brady: I think it depends on my mood. I've turned into a lone wolf. I'm the lone wolf of comedy. Because when I think something is funny, I want to pursue that line of thinking. It's like, being single versus being in a relationship. When you're single, you can play video games till three o'clock in the morning and eat cereal in your underwear, and no one can tell you what to do. You can't necessarily do that when you're with someone. Doing comedy by myself sometimes lets me just do. And then, when I'm in a group of people, like five people, then there are a bunch of different personalities to play off of, and I love playing second support. I love jumping in and lobbing the ball at someone and giving them the laugh. So I think it all depends on the setting.
BYUtv Insider: On the show, you're mentoring these kids, which is so inspiring. Have you had a comedic mentor in your life, or do you still?
Wayne Brady: Early on, a lady named Claire Sarah and her husband, Will, invited me to join their theater company back in Orlando. SAK Theater. And I started doing Theatresports, which was competitive improv, so they guided me on that way. So I learned from all the guys that I worked with at SAK Theater. They were all my mentors to a degree, because I was so young and absorbing all of this. But because I never said "I want to do comedy," there was never anybody who walked me through. There were plenty of people who were my mentors and they didn't know it. Robin Williams was my mentor. John Leguizamo is a mentor of mine. Whoopi Goldberg is a mentor of mine. And they don't know. So hopefully, if they watch BYUtv, then they will know.
BYUtv Insider: Thank you so much for taking the time. This has been so insightful and really exciting, and I can't wait for the fans at home to watch your show.
Wayne Brady: Me too. Going to be a great time. This is going to be great, and they're going to love these kids. Watch for the kids. Do it for the children.