Wayne Brady brings improv comedy and music to MotorCity Casino
With his daily hosting duties on "Let's Make a Deal," his long-running improv show "Whose Line is it Anyway?" and other various acting and singing jobs, it's a wonder Wayne Brady has any time to tour.
He makes it a priority, though, he says, because his live audience keeps him well-oiled.
"You can't get away from your muscles," said Brady, 47. "So even doing 'Let's Make a Deal' or if I'm shooting 'Whose Line' ... in order to keep my chops up I have to get on the road and I have to be in front of people and not just in front of the cameras."
Brady, who has appeared on more than 300 episodes of the comedy show "Whose Line?" since it debuted in the late 1990s, says he doesn't do stand-up comedy when he tours, but farms ideas from the audience, proving that the improvisational entertainment he's known for is truly off-the-cuff.
He says his live show is like an improvisational rock concert.
"I use the audience in the show. If I'm doing it right in front of you and using people from the audience there's no way that you can doubt the veracity and the truth of what's happening in front of you," he said. He's joined by Jonathan Magnum, the announcer from "Deal" and says that they write songs based off titles that the audience gives them.
"We do two-person scenes, we bring up people from the audience we put them in the scenes, we do props, we do moving bodies, sound effects."
He said the show uses some techniques and familiar bits ("greatest hits") from "Whose Line is it Anyway," on which Magnum also has a recurring role. Brady also does a Q & A with the audience and tells stories.
"It's a very fast-moving hour and 20 minute show," he said.
Along with Drew Carey who started hosting "The Price is Right" in 2007, Brady, was ahead of the pack when it came to this recent trend of comedians hosting game shows. He started presenting a new version of "Let's Make a Deal" a decade ago, before Steve Harvey, Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres and other top comedians considered it.
"There is a definite game show resurgence," he said, adding that "Deal" is about to go into its 11th season. "And if I do say so myself and pat myself on the back, when I started doing it, game shows hadn't kicked back in yet and there were some people in the comedy community and in other facets that were like 'what the hell is Wayne doing, that's corny.'"
He said once he was on the air a while others started to jump on the game show bandwagon. It goes back to the early days of game shows in the mid-20th century when comedians were regularly featured on panels.
"I'm not saying it's because of Wayne, I'm saying it's because I was on the first vehicle and no one saw it coming," he added modestly. "The reality is TV, like anything, it's cyclical. We live in a time when people want feel-good entertainment."
"We live in dark times," said Brady, who in 2017 played the role of Aaron Burr in "Hamilton" in Chicago. When asked about politics, he said he would only go into that realm if he knew he could truly help people.
"I think I can do more good in this world by being an entertainer and using my voice and bringing some light."
"The only escape we have sometimes is a laugh," he said.
Sound Board and MotorCity Casino Hotel
7:30 p.m. Sun.
2901 Grand River, Detroit
(313) 309-4700 or 313presents.com
"Whose Line is it Anyway?"
9 p.m. Mondays
"Let's Make a Deal"
10 a.m. weekdays