Everyone who hasn't been walking around with a blindfold and earplugs for the past 15 years has most likely seen Whose Line is it Anyway? and will be familiar with Wayne Brady as a master of improv comedy.
Brady came on to the stage already improvising, with an introduction rap about IT testing that had to incorporate various words collected from the audience, with more than one that was so long that I'd be lying if I said I didn't have to Google it to find out the definition. Brady impressively managed to do so, and won over the audience almost immediately.
From there the entire show was a series of improvised skits with a little help from the audience and his co-performer Jonathan Mangum, as the duo managed to bounce ideas off each other fluidly, weaving together hilarious tales throughout the show.
The amount of potent dramatic offers, mixed with an off-the-cuff vibe, made for clever quips throughout the show that provoked constant, well-deserved applause from the crowd. There were also a lot of call backs to previous jokes throughout the performance which made the show seem somewhat structured, which is unusual for improvised shows.
The Wayne Brady on stage seemed different from the one normally seen on television, and while he delivered the same high standard of comedy with a good amount of energy, it seemed like he was really enjoying his own personal time to shine.
The apex of the show was the 15-minute encore, and not one of the fake, comedian-leaves-but-the-house-lights-stay-down encore, a legitimate demand for more from the crowd in which we were treated to an improvised musical about the relationship of a couple selected randomly from the audience.
I had high hopes for Brady and he not only met every expectation, but took them out for dinner and brought them home by 10pm. Seeing Brady live is the kind of experience that should be on the bucket list, with a higher priority than seeing a world wonder, because when was the last time the great pyramid impersonated Justin Bieber singing about bestiality?
Wayne Brady, star of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Don’t Forget The Lyrics is back in New Zealand and this time he’s brought along a sidekick – Jonathan Mangum, a fellow improv comedian. Together they put on an extraordinary show which boasts an impressive display of improv, comedy and music.
At the top of the show, Jonathan lets us in on a little secret – just in case the name of the show wasn’t enough of a giveaway – everything is completely made up. To prove that nothing is scripted and everything is improvised, audience participation is a welcome and integral part of the show.
Suggestions are taken from the crowd to help set certain scenes and some lucky audience members even get to be in on the action, like becoming human props and providing sound effects. The show is broken up in to different parts but which all flow together cohesively providing one entertaining evening of exceptional improvisational comedy.
Both Wayne and Jonathan are thrown through the improv wringer but they do so effortlessly, taking everything in their stride and adapting where necessary. This talented duo jump through a variety of scenarios: date night at a doctor’s office performed in various film genres, a sci-fi story featuring Elmo and a Celebrity Idol concert where Prince sings “A Hobbit Stole My Baby” – to name a few.
Still Makin’ Sh*t Up is an outstanding showcase of off-the-cuff comedy that will blow you away and have you in stitches from beginning to end. Wayne Brady really is the king of improv and the consummate entertainer – an absolute master at his craft. This is a show that can only be fully appreciated and experienced live as you really have to see it to believe it.
When Wayne Brady takes the stage, you can't help feeling just a little excited.
The Whose Line Is It Anyway? star is in New Zealand for the comedy festival and his performance at the Opera House in Wellington last night was packed.
At $80 a ticket, you'd hope to get value for money. But let's face it, one of the world's top improv stars (okay, THE top improv star), is hardly going to leave his audience short-changed.
The improv juggernaut took off with Brady's stage partner, Jonathan Mangum, having plucked several tongue-tying, multisyllabic words (including cucumber and jelly bean) from the audience. Brady's job was to include every one of the words into a rap song and apart from a really nasty one - which nobody seemed to have ever heard of - he nailed it.
It launched what would be 90 minutes of improv gold involving the entire audience.
Brady and Mangum launched into a skit called "one-word story", where each of them could say (surprise, surprise) only one word at a time. It was fantastically brilliant and so simple, and all anchored on one audience member not being read any bedtime stories as a kid.
"New choice" also had the audience bent double. A pick-a-path scenario, it focused on an audience member's holiday experience. As this IT professional had only been to the South Island for a holiday (and yes, we South Islanders got the Auckland treatment), Brady ordered him to pick a better place.
Tokyo it was, and Mangum and Brady launched into the story. Every time the adjudicator said "new choice" they had to pick a new response and soon this IT professional's holiday involved Japanese porn and kinky websites about Yellow Fever.
Celebrity Idol was the cherry on the top and involved song titles written by the audience.
It was brilliant. And a bit mind-blowing. And a bit disturbing to think of what is in some people's minds.
In a really creepy resemblance to Creed, Brady belted out the Anthem For The Eradication Of The Elderly And Incontinent.
To Justin Bieber's Baby, he melted hearts with Sheep Shagger (it was disturbing, but God, it was funny).
That's When I Lost My Arms was sung to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This hit, and embattled National list MP Aaron Gilmore was featured in Brady's Rolling Stones tribute, Do You Know Who Aaron Gilmore Is? It featured the lines "sooner or later, they're going to kick you right out the door".
But the absolute highlight was Brady's take on Prince, with a song called The Sneaky Sausage. It was hysterical. Mangum was bent over double. And Brady couldn't sing in parts because he was laughing so hard.
The only awkward part of the night was the Whose Line? hit, Sound Effects. Brady did his best, but when you get a quiet audience member making the sound effects for you, it's never going to be as good as Colin Mochrie. It's fair to say the Whose Line? team have set a high bar and Brady made the point of saying a new season of the show had been filmed and would hopefully be on New Zealand screens next year.
This was a great show, and well worth the money.
If you ever get the chance to see Brady live, fork out the cash and see the legend. Unless you're a soulless individual devoid of a sense of humour, you won't be disappointed.
Wayne Brady, and his stage companion Jonathan Mangum, improvised their hearts out on the ASB Theatre stage last night.
Their only performance in Auckland launched with a rap where Brady showed off some of his skills. Freestyling about flowers, the rap had to include random words given by the audience including taranchula, feminism and orange. A great warm up to what was to be a thoroughly humorous hour. Who would have thought that a hummus sales rep and Sesame Street’s Elmo would appear in the same show.
This well known actor is a favourite of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Don’t Forget The Lyrics. There was no doubt of his improvisational prowess but I was blown away by his musical talents and impersonation skills.
The audience participation is key to his show and they were more than willing to get up on stage and get involved. Acting as living props, sound effects or an interviewed guest, all provided wonderful opportunities for Brady and Mangum to act as the ultimate puppeteers.
One of the perks of the evening was a Q&A with the man himself . Brady answered questions written by the audience with quick witted repartee.
My personal highlight however had to be the singing. A hugely talented performer who can nail Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, MC Hammer and Prince while including key phrases donated by the audience ‘A hobbit stole my baby’ will go down as one of my all time favourite Prince songs!
An immensely entertaining hour, Wayne Brady provides a show to please all!
Wayne Brady's Auckland show last night delivered what every Whose Line is it Anyway? fan wanted to see – world class improvised comedy.
His opening number set the scene for 90 minutes of the same quick-witted entertainment Whose Line was loved for. The rhyming rap used words contributed by the audience minutes earlier, including the indomitable “orange” (which, in case you’re wondering, rhymes with “door hinge”) – although “antidisestablishmentarianism” was rejected by Brady’s offsider Jonathan Mangum as apparently being far too common.
A series of classic theatresport skits followed, many calling for audience participation that ranged from mediocre to cringe-worthy. Brady worked with it all, managing to bring out the funny side in even the most staid of volunteers.
A game called ‘New Choice' was a highlight. It involved Brady and Mangum acting out an audience-driven scenario with ‘pick-a-path’ type options offered up at the prompting of the adjudicator. Brady and Mangum bounced off each other superbly, with Brady’s storyline alternatives becoming more and more imaginative at every turn.
The old favourite ‘Celebrity Idol’ finished the show, with Brady once again demonstrating his talent for rapid lyric writing by incorporating audience-supplied song titles into well-known songs – complete with startling impersonations of their singers.
Interestingly, I discovered later that many of the artists featured – Rod Stewart, MC Hammer, Prince, the Rolling Stones – were the same as those used in his earlier show, Making Sh*t Up, which was part of the Comedy Fest in 2009. Still, it’s hard to argue when Creed’s ‘With Arms Wide Open’ suddenly morphs into ‘I Come From Ekatahuna’.
Brady also made time to answer pre-submitted questions from the audience – some serious, others not so much. The segment acted as a breather in the middle of the show, but the change of pace and tone solicited fewer laughs, which seemed a shame given the quality of the rest of the evening. It did however bring more of the ‘real’ Brady and less of the ‘clown’ Brady to the fore.
The attraction of Still Making Sh*t Up is the uniqueness of each show, no matter how similar the parameters. Brady has proven he’s still got it – which bodes well for the new Whose Line episodes coming later this year.
After sell-out seasons in Sydney and Melbourne last December, Wayne returns to Australia by popular demand. Join the star of 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' and host of 'Don't Forget The Lyrics' for a night of comedy, music and improv mayhem. Emmy Award winning improvisational comedian, singer, dancer and actor Wayne Brady has it all and is coming to Perth with his hit Las Vegas show 'Making S%!t Up' for one night only.
Wayne won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Series for his work on Whose Line Is It Anyway? with Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, being the only person to win the award for a television series, as opposed to a special since Dana Carvey in 1993.
Brady hails from Orlando Florida where he started in entertainment at the age of 16. His personal philosophy of "No matter what it is, I am going to work in this field" meant he steered clear of the traditional 'waiting on tables' as an option for a struggling performer. This included a stint as "Tigger" at Walt Disney world where he simultaneously entertained & frightened small children. Much has happened since then!
Don't miss him. One show only!
As far as I can tell, it's been four years since Wayne Brady last made sh*t up onstage in New Zealand. Last time, he closed the show with a set of serious r&b songs from his new album. This time, he stuck to the comedy. The only serious music was Neil Diamond's greatest hits playing as the capacity audience took its seats, which subsequently provided some great gags for Brady and his fellow performer, Jonathan Mangum.
In a festival crammed with stand up comics, Wayne Brady is one of the few internationals to be doing something different. He opens the show with a rap that incorporates words that Mangum has elicited from the audience. These included pulchritudinous and xenophobic. Creating rhymes that make sense is one of his talents. As he admits in the show, he isn't a doctor, he can't save lives or cure people, but he can make sh*t up.
From the rap he moves to a series of improv sketches with Mangum and sometimes volunteers from the audience. Having been assured in advance that any volunteers will not be made to look stupid, the chosen few carry out the tasks given to them and are great sports in the process. In fact the only people to be at the wrong end of a joke all night are the aforementioned Neil Diamond, and a certain National MP who wondered if anyone knew who he was recently (turns out Wayne Brady did!).
The show closes with a set of Celebrity Idol, where Brady improvises hits with titles provided by the audience while impersonating Justin Bieber, Scott Stapp from Creed, Prince and MC Hammer among others.
Somewhere in the mists of time I was taught that improvisation is about being a Yes; to take the suggestions and the feedlines and run with them. To be a No shuts improv down. Perhaps this living in the Yes is why Wayne Brady is such a positive and enjoyable performer.
To see him live is to go home smiling and feeling good. And Mangum is no slouch either. For example, his Keith Richards is a hilarious accompaniment to Brad's Mick Jagger impersonation.
And if a huge ovation from an enthusiastic audience can be interpreted as a Yes, then good on Brady and Mangum for running with it. The house lights were already on when they returned for an encore, which turned out to be a show highlight.
Because it is improv, no two shows will ever be alike. I suspect that Brady and Mangum have been working together so long they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves, but really what difference does it make in the end? What I mostly know is that as well as the rest of the sell out crowd at tonight's show, I went home on a happy high that I am still experiencing.
I saw my childhood afternoon entertainment come to life last night. I was always in awe of Wayne Brady as a kid. Undeniably the star of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (which apparently is getting a new season…), he had me in stitches every afternoon. His talents, for those who weren’t fans of the show/at home at 3.30pm during the week in the 1990s was making up songs on the spot. Thrown a genre and a profession of an audience member dobbed in by their friends, he would create songs on demand. He could do any genre, impersonate any artist and make even the most mundane profession hilarious. As I got older, I began to doubt the magic of TV, obviously these people had been picked before the show, he’d clearly had time to prepare. Not So! Last night started with the audience picking long words (rhinoceros, stethoscope, onomatopoeia), about 10 all up and then after that picking a topic (flowers) before the main man himself came on stage and rapped using all the words in order. Pow. It was brilliant. And hilarious.
During the rest of the show we were treated to some Whose Line Is It Anyway? style improv games with plenty of audience participation. Audience members were used as props and recruited to provide sound effects. Wayne and Jonathan Mangum (who served as Wayne’s sidekick) charmed everyone who was brave enough to get on the stage. Of course inevitably crowd participation can be unpredictable and an interview with an audience member about his expertise in computers definitely fell a bit flat. It was followed by wayne answering questions from the audience which was interesting but but not inspired. Luckily, things picked right back up and concluded with Wayne singing a song about being from Eketahuna in the style of Creed. This is where he shines and it’s what sets him apart from other improv comedians, so I’m glad we got lots of it.
As good in real life as on TV. He really is a lyrical genius.