Wayne Brady on Mentoring an Up-and-Comer and Playing Mother's Brother
Wayne Brady and Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
It's a November to remember for Wayne Brady
, who already has an Everybody Hates Chris
appearance under his belt, and next turns up on The N's The Brandon T. Jackson Show
(premiering Friday, Nov. 24, at 9 pm/ET), followed by the CBS hitcom How I Met Your Mother
(Mondays at 8), playing no less than Barney's brother. But enough with the exposition-filled intro, on with the interview!
TVGuide.com: You have a lot of stuff going on these days!
Wayne Brady: Well, that's always a good thing.
TVGuide.com: First up, give me an overview of The Brandon T. Jackson Show. What's it going to be like?
Brady: The Brandon T. Jackson Show is a younger, fast-paced sketch show. Brandon is a very talented stand-up and young actor, and Noggin approached me about basically trying to take things that Brandon found funny, and turning them into sketches that kids his age would find funny. Brandon is a very hip young cat, regardless of color, with a really great view of the world, one shared by a lot of smart teens. You can't give these people baby sketch comedy like one might find on All That, nor can you push it as far as an HBO-type deal, so we have to find Brandon's special place [in this genre].
TVGuide.com: It sounds like you are sort of serving as a mentor.
Brady: To a certain degree. I'm just letting these sketch ideas come out of Brandon, and then putting them on paper and letting him run with it. Like, [MTV's] My Super Sweet 16 is very much on the mind of these teenagers, so we wondered, "What's that next level to go to, with these kids who are completely stupid and out of control and spoiled? Who would be funny to be that spoiled?" We came up with the idea of Reggie bin Laden.
TVGuide.com: And you play Osama?
Brady: Yes, I deliver an "homage" to Osama. But this show isn't really about me at all; I'm a facilitator who's there to help. This is about watching Brandon T. Jackson shine.
TVGuide.com: Let's move on to How I Met Your Mother. I thought that your character's secret was that he is gay, but the publicist for the show insists that's not the secret.
Brady: That is not the secret. I play Neil Patrick Harris' gay black brother, so the secret isn't that he's gay, and the secret isn't that he's black, and the secret isn't that he's brother.... [SPOILER ALERT] No, the secret that gets revealed in the body of the show, and that I'm keeping from Barney, is that I've become a monogamist.
TVGuide.com: Which is a total affront to Barney.
Brady: Right. So instead of ho'ing around and being the perfect wingman, I have now settled into a life where I not only love my boyfriend, but we're going to get married — and adopt a kid. It's a whole lot for Barney to take in at once.
TVGuide.com: I heard the show loved you and might want James to be a recurring character.
Brady: Hey, that's a done deal — as soon as they ask me, I am there. I have to say, it was a mutual lovefest. We had a great time, and I would go back in a heartbeat. I really hope there is a future there for James.
TVGuide.com: Back when you were taping the episode, did Neil Patrick Harris give you a heads-up to "Keep an eye on the headlines. You might be seeing me make an announcement"?
Brady: Yeah, he was going through it while we were doing it, but I have to say that I've known Neil on and off for years, and he has a great head on his shoulders. It's a shame that the matter of one's sexuality needs to even be a headline, but he handled it with incredible aplomb. At the end of the day, I don't think it will affect the show or affect him. It's just another bit of information. He's blonde, he's tall, and he's gay.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of blonde, tall and gay, let's talk about Everybody Hates Chris. Lousy segue, huh?
Brady: I play Chris' uncle in the Thanksgiving episode [which aired Nov. 20], and that too may become recurring. Any time you get a role as a family member, it's a good thing, because family is always there, whether you like it or not.
TVGuide.com: Is the pilot you did for the CW still percolating out there somewhere? [The premise: Brady is the lone male employee at a women's magazine.]
Brady: I'm one of those guys who after I do something, I move on, unless there's cause to stick around. The CW is doing whatever they are doing over there, so I don't know what's going to happen. No one has called me yet, so if it does happen, it does. It got a lot of great buzz. Folks were saying it was definite go. That just teaches you, "Don't listen to the folks. Listen to when you actually show up to work and start shooting it."
TVGuide.com: A coworker wanted me to ask you about the famous sketch you did on Chappelle's Show.
Brady: [Recurring Chappelle's player] Paul Mooney made a reference to basically me making Bryant Gumbel look really black and militant. That is Paul Mooney's sense of humor, and no one made Paul the arbiter of black, so what ended up happening is that when that joke aired, [Dave] Chappelle called me and said, "Listen, this thing wasn't even funny, and I think you're brilliant. Would you come and work with me?" That was really big of him, because he didn't have to. So we got together, and now it's sketch history, a great moment. It was a couple of years ago, but it still resonates with people.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, leave us with a horror story from your stint as a Disney World Tigger.
Brady: Oh, man... I actually had a great time doing that, because when you're 16 and working at Walt Disney World, you're kind of programmed to think that's the best thing you could be doing. Let me just say that when the college girls would come visit the park and pet Tigger on the tummy, where Tigger's tummy fits was a very happy place for Wayne.
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