Can we talk about Wayne Brady?

Where do I even start?

The man is a phenom: Bursts of creativity, a great stage presence and incredible improvisational skills. I’ve long admired Wayne Brady and will continue to do so for years to come.

He first came to my attention as part of the US version of improv comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway? and his versatility and energy were just electrifying.

Wayne Brady's broad performance skills make him an asset to improv.
Wayne Brady’s broad performance skills make him an asset to improv. Pic: Pasadena Playhouse.

 

I recently stumbled upon a gem of rap improv (a popular antic of his from Whose Line), recorded at this year’s BET Honors awards show:
 

Did I mention he sings (really well)?

He’s also quite the dancer:

A number of years ago, he toured the US and a number of countries, combining his many skills in a show dubbed Making Sh*t Up. The scale and success of that production is inspiring. He took the simple, yet powerful short-form improv comedy that relies so heavily on audience involvement and added other layers to create a fantastic addition to his body of work.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the potential for improv to make a larger impact across communities, mainly since I’m attracted to its attempts to ‘democratise’ performance. Using audience suggestions as springboards for scenes and comedy games as well as activating them to become protagonists every now and then is incredibly powerful.

Unlike the the one-way, typically monological form of traditional theatre (and comedy), I’ll always be drawn to that massive risk of creating something completely new and sharing that with the audience. No two shows are the same.

There’s so much untapped potential in my home city Soweto and other townships. I can definitely see this kind of off-the-cuff, collaborative form taking off and tapping into a goldmine South African humour and culture.

Lots of work and fantastic opportunities ahead.

Stay tuned…

– Tyson

 

P.S Brady responded to a recent tweet:

 

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