Wayne Brady, on his live show: “There is no rehearsal. It's improvisation, so life is rehearsal.”

Whether you know him from the improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, as host of Let’s Make a Deal, or from many other TV and movie appearances, you know that Wayne Brady always strives to entertain.

See him in action live when he heads for the Spotlight 29 Showroom this Saturday, June 11.

During a recent phone interview, I asked Brady what people who attend his show can expect.

“If I do a live show, then I’m doing improvisation and making stuff up on the fly using the audience,” Brady said. “The show has music; it has characters, audience stuff—all the stuff that would come from watching Whose Line and everything else that I’ve done over the years.”

While Brady gets sole billing for the show, he won’t be performing alone.

“I have my friend Jonathan Mangum, my partner in crime who does Let’s Make a Deal and Whose Line with me, and we also have Cat Gray from Let’s Make a Deal, my keyboardist and musical director. The three of us come out and make the funny with the people.

“I just want to invite everybody to come out. If you just want to laugh, come to the show, because that’s what’s going to happen.”

I asked Brady what he does to rehearse for his shows.

“There is no rehearsal,” Brady said. “It’s improvisation, so life is rehearsal.”

Like almost all entertainers, Brady had to change the way he reached audiences during the pandemic. He engaged in Zoom-based Whose Line at Home conversations, made a whole lot of TikTok uploads, and accomplished this amazing collaboration with improvisational musician Marc Rebillet, in which Brady argues about his favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

YouTube video

“I would like to think my family helped me get through the pandemic,” Brady said. “I’m very fortunate that I’ve got an amazing family, and there are far more people who were hit badly, economically and health-wise by the pandemic, more than we were. I was very blessed to be able to ride it through with the family, doing family things together, doing TikToks, creating; we never stopped working during the pandemic. We just shifted it to producing a lot of things here at the house and in a bubble. I think that instead of looking at it as, ‘How did we get through it?’ we got through it by trying to help other people by being able to make folks smile … doing charity concerts, and trying to try to help others.”

Brady was fortunate to get back to working live sooner than some others.

“We’ve been shooting for a year,” Brady said. “We’ve been back in the studio with Let’s Make a Deal, doing it in a different hybrid way, and shooting my other show, American Gigolo on Showtime, and already doing touring dates. I think like a lot of other people, we were able to make a transition, trying to do it safely, finding out ways to use the COVID protocols and still get back to work.”

Brady said he makes a point to enjoy his busy schedule.

“You make everything work within those boundaries,” said Brady. “I’m shooting Let’s Make a Deal once we start in August, until the end of the year—but if things come up, then you make time, if you’re able to. I’m very lucky to have a packed schedule, but I try to make time for things that really matter, like family. If a really cool thing pops up that I get a chance to do, I definitely try to make that time, because life is short, and you’ve gotta have fun while you’re doing it.”

Brady is proud to have avoided strict labels like “actor” or “comedian”—and likes being known as an all-around entertainer.

“I think I will continue to do everything that I love,” said Brady. “I just love the business and the creativity that comes with it versus just pigeonholing myself into one thing. That’s the goal—to keep trying everything. That’s where people, I feel, make a mistake, and say, ‘Well, I’m an actor; I’m a this; I’m a that.’ If you’re a creative, just try to be a creative, and see what happens. You may surprise yourself.”

Wayne Brady will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 11, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $20 to $75. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit www.spotlight29.com.

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...

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