Wayne Brady, quiet kid but improv icon, brings act to Omaha - Omaha.com
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Wayne Brady, quiet kid but improv icon, brings act to Omaha
By Kevin Coffey
World-Herald Staff Writer


Wayne Brady wasn't the class clown or the guy everyone said should get onstage and do stand-up. He was the quiet kid in the corner who watched everyone. He studied people, observed what made them laugh and wrote down funny bits. “I've always wanted to be an actor. That's the only job I wanted to do,” he told The World-Herald. “It's like any other job that's not just a job. It's a craft. It's a passion. It's something that you want to do for the rest of your life.”

Now, he makes a living as a funny guy. Many people know him from stints on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” which is making a comeback, and as the host of “Let's Make a Deal.”

IF YOU GO



Who: Wayne Brady

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Tickets: $25 to $70 at www.ticketomaha.com, Ticket Omaha box office or by phone at 402-345-0606

Information: www.omahaperformingarts.org or 402-345-0202

His show “Making it Up,” is all improvised, similar to the sketches on “Whose Line.” Brady takes suggestions from the audience — including song titles and sketch ideas — and turns them into laughs.

Brady suggests everyone bring their best ideas and suggestions, some of which he'll accept via his Facebook page.

“We want everyone to come to the show, and to be ready to be a part of the show,” he said. “This is not TV. It's not passive entertainment. Be ready to be sucked into it.”

Also a singer who has released albums of R&B and soul music, Brady is especially good at creating humorous songs. Even those are made up on the spot.

“I can't tell you how I do it. I just do it. It's just what it is. It's an artistic thing,” he said. “I'm an actor, I'm a singer and a writer. All those things work together at once to make those songs happen on the fly. It really isn't pulling crap out of thin air and throwing up randomly. Basically, I'm writing a song on the spot, and you can't just write the song and say, 'This isn't working.' You've got to deliver a punch line and a setup, and it's always been one of those quirk things that my mind has always been good at piecing together.”

If someone suggests a song about a planet, Brady immediately starts piecing together everything he knows about space, NASA and aliens, “like a big computer screen comes up in my head.”

Improv is tough, and he spent years studying it to get good. The tough thing is to spontaneously weave a story with a beginning, middle and ending.

Related: 'Whose Line' making a comeback

“I always think, 'I need to get someplace by the end of this,' and then you put the comedy on top of it,” Brady said. “That's just the great icing on top of it. In order to do something like 'Whose Line,' it's not about being a comedian. It's about, 'Are you a good storyteller?' and 'Are you good at characters and dialogue?'”

On Sunday, Brady's fans will get a taste of all of his talents, which he'll be more than happy to show off. Singing, acting and writing all have their own unique perks, Brady said, but they're all important to him.

“They all still equal up to the one thing that I love to do, which is perform,” he said.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1557, kevin.coffey@owh.com, twitter.com/owhmusicguy

Contact the writer: Kevin Coffey

kevin.coffey@owh.com    |   402-444-1557    |  

Kevin covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally covers other entertainment, including video games and comic books.

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