The Brady Hunch

Wayne Brady says the producers of his new show at The Venetian asked him a question no one ever had: “In a perfect world, what do you want to do?”

He didn’t have to think about an answer. In fact, he’d been thinking about it since at least 2004, when he started to build up his marquee value on the Strip by doing comic improvisation.

Brady announced plans for a bigger show even while he and sidekick Jonathan Mangum performed improv exercises in the vein of “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” the Drew Carey-helmed TV hit that served as Brady’s breakout vehicle.

Audiences got a format similar to what they saw on TV, and the situation was practical. Brady mostly worked the Danny Gans Theatre at The Mirage, which only double-books comedians who don’t have to move Gans’ stage equipment.

He says “life got in the way” of the work needed to mount a variety act in the vein of the Las Vegas casino legends he admires. But when the question finally came, he had the answer: “I want to do a real Vegas show. I want to do showbiz. I want to bring showbiz back.”

The first test in April fared well enough that Brady’s “Making It Up” is back, sharing the Venetian Showroom with Gordie Brown through July 1. He and Mangum now are supported by a band and dancers, allowing Brady to do musical impressions of everyone from Luther Vandross and James Brown to Las Vegas rockers the Killers.

Those who turned out for the first stint were, on the average, “slightly older than some of my other crowds, and to be honest I really dig it,” he says. “I think there’s something for everyone in the show.”

The entertainer has spanned the generations. “I’m a huge Rat Pack fan, most in particular Mr. Sammy Davis Jr.,” he says. “Sammy made Vegas what it is today. You could go see him, and no matter what troubles you have, you walk into that showroom and you see a man just killing himself: sweating all over the place, back flipping, spinning, singing, doing impersonations — the whole nine — to make that crowd happy.

“And in my mind, that is true show business and that is what I love and I admire. So in my own way, that is what I aspire to,” he says. “By the time I leave that stage, I need to have lost 5 pounds and the audience needs to have been laughing and applauding enthusiastically the entire time, or my job is not done.”

Brady saw the last of the breed when he came to Las Vegas in 1994 to work in a theme park revue at the bygone MGM Grand Adventures theme park.

Checking out the lounge scene, he caught Sam Butera and Keely Smith when they were paired, for the last time to date, at the Desert Inn. “I was immediately floored and humbled all at the same time,” he says. “I realized that was the kind of showbiz that I loved.” The notion was reinforced by seeing the likes of Earl Turner and Sonny Turner. “That was the part of Vegas I wanted to be an integral part of.”

He agrees that some of the presence he’s looking for — and acceptance of what he is trying to do — comes with age.

“I by no means consider myself a long-in-the-tooth vet,” he says of turning 35 on June 2. “But I realize at this age, I’m really finally starting to feel like an adult performer. I feel like I can walk out on a stage, not being cocky, but walk out and plant my two feet and sing a song, tell a joke or be a character, and be completely at ease in that.

“And that is something that you do need to learn.”

Brady’s 2001 attempt at an ABC variety series and his ongoing work for Disney had pushed his public perception into the realm of goody-two-shoes. After he became a target of “Chappelle’s Show” on Comedy Central, he went on the show for a memorable sketch with Dave Chappelle that became the most talked about thing he ever has done.

“Whenever people think that they know you too well, you have to flip it,” he says. Mission accomplished. The “Training Day” parody has Brady abducting Chappelle to shake down hookers, kill a policeman and machine-gun a gang of rivals.

Brady’s Wikipedia entry claims that outtakes on the DVD version of “Chappelle’s Show” suggest the entertainer had a hard time with all of this. “Idiots and Wikipedia do not a good match make,” Brady responds. “I loved doing the piece. I helped write it.”

The problem, he says, was coming up with the funny word for what’s now the most quoted line: “Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?”

He explains that “slap” in the original script “didn’t have a funny sound to me.” He kept trying to improve the line until he came up with “choke.”

You see, there’s a rule in comedy that “K’s are funny,” Brady explains. “And it’s such an aggressive word, combined with the image of me saying it, that’s the one that made magic.”

Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like