Comic and singer Wayne Brady may have made one of his most lasting marks by serenading audience members with love ballads on the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Hosted by Drew Carey, the show featured Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, and other regulars, who played improvisational games in front of a studio audience. Brady's brilliant interaction with the other players on the show earned him not only three Emmy nominations (one of which actually found the comic taking home the prize), but enough attention to spawn his own Emmy-winning series, The Wayne Brady Show, in 2001.
Born June 2, 1972, in Orlando, Florida, Brady began performing the central Florida theater circuit when he was still a teenager. After a brief stay in Las Vegas, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1996, where he gained stage and television experience as a dramatic artist. He made appearances on several dramatic series, including I'll Fly Away and In the Heat of the Night. In 1998, he hosted the VH1 series Vinyl Justice, in addition to his late-'90s appearance on Whose Line Is It Anyway? The TV movie musical Geppetto featured Brady in the role of a magician, alongside Whose Line host Drew Carey, who starred in the comedy.
The Wayne Brady Show debuted in 2001. Written by, produced by, and starring Brady, the series showcased both his comedic and dramatic talents. A sketch comedy show that had a relatively brief run on daytime television, The Wayne Brady Show nevertheless paved the way for a similarly titled talk show that hit the airwaves the same year. His popularity grew at a rapid rate thanks to his amiable, down-to-earth persona and everyman attitude. (Brady also proved that he had a sense of humor about his image by portraying himself as a drug-dealing psychopath on a particularly memorable episode of Chappelle's Show in 2004.) Numerous appearances in television series followed, including Reno 911, Stargate SG-1, and Kevin Hill, and in 2006 he served as host for the thought-provoking TV Land series That's What I'm Talking About, a free-flowing look at the black lifestyle in America that featured such special guests as Spike Lee, Wanda Sykes, D.L. Hughley, and Paul Mooney.
As a recurring role in the popular television series Girlfriends continued to keep him busy on the small screen, additional performances in features, like the retro-minded roller-skating comedy drama Roll Bounce and the high-stakes streetball drama Crossover, found the comic's film career gaining momentum as well. In 2007 he hosted the prime-time singing game show Don't Forget the Lyrics. A year later he focused on his own singing career by releasing his debut full-length, A Long Time Coming. The album was filled with slow jams, classic R&B flavors, and a couple of cover versions, including Stevie Wonder's "All I Do" and the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love." In 2009 he became the host of the daytime game show Let’s Make a Deal. Two years later Brady returned to the recording studio after the realization that “Yου hаνе six-year-olds whο саn quote Lady Gaga’s lyrics.” In response, he released the wholesome children’s album Radio Wayne that same year on the Disney label. ~ Sarah Sloboda