'There's only so many times a day you could hear people say, 'Does Wayne Brady have to choke a bitch?'"
That's the man himself, responding with a laugh to the way the notoriously hilarious 2008 Chappelle's Show skit impacted his career.
If you somehow missed it, let's put it this way: It imagined Brady as anything other than his squeaky-clean, family-friendly on-air persona in shows such as The Wayne Brady Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? and the revivification of Let's Make a Deal.
"A huge cross section of people watched the Chappelle Show. So it's just logical to think that those who didn't watch Whose Line, or didn't watch daytime TV, got hip to me because of that," the 41-year-old actor says from his home in Los Angeles, "But that's cool because it's great to show people what you can do. But I did it for no other reason other than, 'This is going to be funny as hell.'"
Dispelling perceptions doesn't seem to be on Brady's to-do list. What is, however, is to be as complete an entertainer as he can. For those of you who haven't wised up to him, Brady has been on TV since 1990, yet never risks overexposure due to the circumference of his talents. His résumé includes singing (having released multiple studio albums), stage performances in Chicago and Rent, countless cameos in shows like How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock, and four Daytime Emmys for his short-lived talk show.
His career traces back to his teen years in Orlando, Fla., when the aspiring actor first discovered improvisation: "I was in the middle of a theater production when ... I forgot my lines. It was just the most uncomfortable thing."
To keep from ever freezing up again, he started taking improv classes. "I felt so free because I realized that making stuff up on the fly and having fun and doing the characters, that's just stuff that I've already been doing even in the privacy of my own home."
And that's what he's returning to when he performs Sunday in Pueblo for his It's My Line tour.
"It's a completely improvised show, from the beginning of the show, to the end; it's all made up right there on the spot," he says. "Different from the four-man show on Whose Line, people get to see me on my own doing things ... It's an opportunity for me to talk about stuff and tell stories.
"In the middle of the show the audience can ask anything they want. I give them sheets of paper to write down questions for an improvised song that we'll use later, and I'll create the song on the spot."
Brady notes that there is nothing that hasn't been asked, so for those of you looking to be cute, remember — you're in the hands of a well-schooled professional.