If you don't watch daytime TV or online video, you might not have seen Wayne Brady for a while. But the talented actor, singer and comic performer has been busy with a wide array of projects, from hosting the new Let's Make a Deal for CBS to co-hosting the NAACP Image Awards next week to appearing in a Funny or Die video spoof that has some bloggers saying he defamed the memory of civil rights icons Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King.
Still, there's one gig he's eager to admit he's probably not taking anytime soon: the co-host's chair on Live With Regis and Kelly.
"I'm very flattered, trust me, to have my name in the mix, but one daytime gig is enough," said Brady about the smattering of articles suggesting he might be a perfect replacement for a retiring Regis Philbin. "No one in that camp has contacted me, and I'm busy doing what I'm doing … which is, first and foremost, being an actor and a singer."
Brady is bringing his improvisational show to the Club at Treasure Island tonight and Saturday. He answered a few questions about his current work, including a cameo appearance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Funny or Die's Real Housewives of Civil Rights satire, featuring comic takes on Parks, Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, Winnie Mandela, Maya Angelou and Marilyn Monroe.
In this Real Housewives of Atlanta spoof, Rosa Parks is drinking from a fifth of liquor and Betty Shabazz threatens Coretta Scott King with a gun. How did you guys come up with this?
"I've known the sketch group Elite Delta Force 3 for a while now; my girlfriend (Robin Thede) is a member. I read the piece and just thought it was funny, though I have to admit, I am not a watcher of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. That's not my bag. I realized after we shot the sketch, I should go back and watch, so I could see where humor is coming from. I like that — even if you didn't like it — you still are talking about it."
What's your live show like?
"It's all improvisational comedy. … We ask (the audience) to give us suggestions for song titles that do not exist. But no matter how many times you ask, they say 'Can you do This Masquerade?' … Or it will be something kind of vulgar. Somebody will refer to a gynecologist or something. It's my job to say, 'Okay, you got to be funny. Now let's do something so completely innocuous and small.' All I'm asking you for is information."
You're co-hosting the NAACP image awards on March 4. Any danger of a Ricky Gervais-like meltdown?
"As nonfunny as this is going to sound, you just need common sense. Your job is you have to make the audience feel comfortable; they're meant to be at ease in your house. That said, I hope that Ricky considers (his Golden Globes hosting stint) a success. He kind of changed the game. You don't have to come out and be cloying and glad-hand everybody. His main job was to be funny, and he did it."
You grew up in Orlando. Learn anything there that helps you now?
"What I got out of Orlando was definitely hustling and not being afraid to use every single talent; if I wasn't working, I'd jump on a cruise ship or run down to one of the theme parks. When I was coming up, the talent pool was only so big. If you could get in there, it really prepares you for that next step up."