In 1996, after performing in showcases across the country, Brady was hired to work in a musical revue based in Oahu, Hawaii. It was there that he met Mandie Taketa, a dancer in the show. The two began dating and, after the revue closed, the couple moved to Los Angeles.
In California, Brady began earning television parts, including guest-starring roles in In the Heat of the Night and I’ll Fly Away. Around the same time, several former compatriots from the SAK relocated to the West Coast. Along with Brady, they formed the critically lauded improv group, “Houseful of Honkeys,” which still performs regularly at the Acme Comedy Theatre.
In 1997, Brady auditioned for the established British comedy series, Whose Line Is It Anyway? The improv-based show featured a rotating quartet of comedians performing lightning-speed comedy games and improvised songs in front of a live audience. The content closely mirrored Brady’s skill set, and his audition made a huge impact on the producers. He was subsequently cast in several episodes. When the same company, Hat Trick Productions, brought the show stateside in 1998, Brady auditioned once again. After a grueling six-hour tryout, he was cast as a series regular. The following April, he wed Taketa.
As a result of his work on Whose Line, Brady’s career skyrocketed. His good looks, easygoing nature and triple-threat virtuosity not only made him an audience favorite and an Emmy winner but also gave him the leverage to start his own television show.
In 2001, ABC debuted The Wayne Brady Show, a weekly variety revue featuring a mix of music and comedy. A year later, the network revised the format and added a talk show element to the program. The show thrived for several years, during which time Brady became a father. His daughter, Maile, was born in 2003.
Although The Wayne Brady Show earned two Daytime Emmys, it was canceled in 2004, so Brady hit Broadway that year to star as Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago. He also appeared in a notable role on Chappelle’s Show, hilariously skewering his “nice guy” image.
After touring with his own live stage show, Brady returned to the small screen in 2007 to host Fox’s network game show Don’t Forget the Lyrics. That same year he and Taketa divorced. Brady has since made appearances in multiple television series, including How I Met Your Mother, Everybody Hates Chris and the animated series Sophia the First. In 2008 he released the Grammy-nominated album A Long Time Coming, and the following year he took on hosting duties of a new version of daytime game show Let’s Make a Deal, which entered its sixth season in 2014.
Wayne Brady is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.