Wayne Brady
Brady in 2015
Wayne Alphonso Brady

(1972-06-02) June 2, 1972 (age 52)
  • Television host
  • comedian
  • actor
  • singer
Years active1990–present
  • Diana Lasso
    (m. 1993; div. 1995)
  • Mandie Taketa
    (m. 1999; div. 2007)

Wayne Alphonso Brady (born June 2, 1972) is an American television host, comedian, actor, and singer. He is a regular on the American version of the improvisational comedy television series Whose Line Is It Anyway? He was the host of the daytime talk show The Wayne Brady Show, was the original host of Fox's Don't Forget the Lyrics!, and has hosted Let's Make a Deal since its 2009 revival. Brady also performed in the Tony Award–winning musical Kinky Boots on Broadway as Simon—who is also drag queen Lola—from November 2015 to March 2016, and as James Stinson on the American TV series How I Met Your Mother.

Brady is a five-time Emmy Award winner, winning his first for his work on Whose Line? in 2003, two more in the next year for The Wayne Brady Show, and two for Let's Make a Deal. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, for his cover of the Sam Cooke song "A Change Is Gonna Come".

Early life

Brady was born in Columbus, Georgia,[1] to West Indian parents.[2] He was moved to Orlando, Florida, as a young child to live with his grandmother and aunt. Brady refers to his grandmother, Valerie Petersen, as his "mom", since she raised him.[3][4] As a child, Brady developed a stutter. This led to him being bullied by other children, which caused him a great deal of anxiety.[5]

At 16, Brady started performing in community theater and in the Orlando improvisation troupe SAK Comedy Lab, where he first started developing his improv skills. He attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, from which he graduated in 1989.

Shortly thereafter, Brady gained employment at Universal Studios Florida, where he appeared in several projects, most notably two involving the character of Beetlejuice. The first was a street show called "Beetlejuice: Dead in Concert", pitting the titular ghost against the Ghostbusters (this is when the park still had the rights to the franchise), where Brady played Winston Zeddemore.[6] Later on, the "ghost with the most" was given his own stage show, "Beetlejuice's Rock 'N Roll Graveyard Revue", where Brady portrayed Dracula.[7]

In 1996, he moved to Los Angeles, where he continued developing his acting skills.[8]


This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.Find sources: "Wayne Brady" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Brady first appeared on national television as a recurring contestant on the sketch comedy competition Kwik Witz from 1996 to 1999, appearing most often as partners with Frank Maciel. Brady was one of the improvisational theater performers in the original (British) version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, along with Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and host Clive Anderson in 1998 when the last season was filmed in Hollywood, after which he became a regular on the American version, hosted by Drew Carey.[9] In 2003, Brady won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for his work on the show, the only person to win the award for a television series, as opposed to a special, since Dana Carvey in 1993.[10]

He went on to star in his own ABC variety show in 2001, The Wayne Brady Show, and a daytime talk show of the same name in 2002, which lasted two seasons and won four Daytime Emmy Awards, two of which went to Brady for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Brady guest-starred on The Drew Carey Show in 1999 and 2000 to take part in "Drew Live" and "Drew Live II". On the show, Brady played several games taken from Whose Line Is It Anyway? with other characters.

In 2004, Brady joined the Broadway revival of Chicago, playing the role of lawyer Billy Flynn. He appeared briefly in the final episode of the 2004 season of the comedy Reno 911!. He guest-starred on the Sci Fi Channel's hit series Stargate SG-1 as Trelak, the first prime of Goa'uld System Lord Ares. He made an appearance on Chappelle's Show, poking fun at his squeaky-clean persona.[11] Brady co-wrote and sang the theme song for Disney's animated series The Weekenders. In 2005, he sang and recorded Jim Brickman's original Disney song "Beautiful" (a cover of All-4-One's 2002 hit "Beautiful As You") and its Christmas version.[12] In 2006, Brady became the host of TV Land's That's What I'm Talking About, a talk show discussing the role of African-Americans in the entertainment industry. From August 29 to September 29, 2006, Brady hosted the Fox show Celebrity Duets.[13]

Brady made several guest appearances on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, playing James Stinson, the gay brother of Neil Patrick Harris's character, Barney Stinson.[14] Brady has also appeared as a guest star for the MTV show Wild 'N Out and lent his voice to the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken. Brady guest-starred in the CBC comedy Getting Along Famously alongside his Whose Line is It Anyway? costar Colin Mochrie. He appeared on the episode "You Don't Know Jack" of the television show Dirt and guest-starred on 30 Rock as Steven Black, Liz Lemon's date for the Source Awards. He co-hosted the short-lived VH1 show Vinyl Justice in 1998. In 2007, he starred in the ABC Family film The List. He starred in Flirt, a comedy pilot which was not picked up by the network.[15] Brady guest-starred as Julius Rock's gifted younger brother, Louis, in the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, and hosted a singing game show called Don't Forget the Lyrics! on Fox until its cancellation in June 2009. He performed "Wayne Brady: Making $%!^ Up" at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada four nights a week.[16]

He appeared on two episodes of Kevin Hill. Brady's debut album was released on September 16, 2008. Brady's version of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" earned him a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance category.[17] Brady started hosting an updated version of the game show Let's Make a Deal for CBS in October 2009, which taped at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and currently tapes in Los Angeles. The show replaced the soap opera Guiding Light, which ended its long run. The original host of Let's Make a Deal was Monty Hall, who served as consultant for the new show until his death in 2017. Drew Carey currently hosts The Price Is Right, and thus, both game shows in the CBS daytime lineup (as of September 2019) hold the distinction of being hosted by an alumnus of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Brady was the guest host on the May 3, 2010, episode of WWE Raw, where he was involved in an in-ring segment with Edge and Randy Orton, eventually getting RKO'd by Orton. Later that year, in August, Brady played Tom Collins in a staged production of Rent at the Hollywood Bowl. The production was directed by Neil Patrick Harris.[18]

Brady appeared alongside Let's Make a Deal announcer Jonathan Mangum in two episodes of Fast and Loose, an improvisational series on BBC2 hosted by Hugh Dennis, in January 2011. Then, with Holly Robinson Peete, he co-hosted the 42nd annual NAACP Image Awards on March 4, 2011.[19] On May 3, 2011, he appeared on Dancing with the Stars as the lead performer in a tribute to James Brown, celebrating what would have been Brown's 78th birthday in the Macy's Stars of Dance segment. He has also been a special guest of Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza on GSN. Brady made a cameo in the 2011 song "Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)" by Lloyd featuring Lil Wayne and Andre 3000, narrating Lil Wayne's section of the song. He appeared as a special guest star in the March 14, 2012, episode of the TV series Psych.

Brady starred in the 2012 ABC improvisational comedy series Trust Us with Your Life and returned for The CW's revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the summer of 2013.[20][21] Brady guest-starred as Don in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Where's Pinky?" on June 7, 2013, and from February 9 to 13, 2015, guest-hosted The Late Late Show on CBS.[22] In November 2015, Brady replaced Billy Porter as Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway until March 2016.[23][24]

Brady assumed the lead role of Aaron Burr in the PrivateBank Theatre production of Hamilton in Chicago from January 17 to April 9, 2017.[25][26] In 2018, Brady began a recurring role in the sci-fi drama Colony as Everett Kynes, the administrator of the Seattle colony and creator of an algorithm used in sorting and identifying people.[27] On April 29, 2018, Brady won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for Let's Make A Deal for the first time, after seven previous nominations.[28] In November 2018, Brady began making appearances as Dr. Reese Buckingham on The Bold and the Beautiful.[29] On October 10, 2019, he was featured in a 30-minute YouTube documentary created by SoulPancake in collaboration with Funny or Die wherein a variety of comedians discuss mental health called Laughing Matters.[30] On December 18, 2019, Brady competed on season two of The Masked Singer as "Fox". He was named the winner of that season.[31]

Beginning in 2020, Brady plays a major recurring role during the third season of The CW superhero drama series Black Lightning as the DC Comics character Tyson Sykes / Gravedigger.[32] It was also announced that he had created a reality competition show to air on BYU TV called Wayne Brady's Comedy IQ, in which teens would be taught skills and compete in weekly challenges.[33] Brady later appeared as a guest panelist in season four of The Masked Singer where he also sang Maroon 5's "Memories" as "Mr. TV" at the start of the sixth episode. On December 28, 2020, it was announced that Brady would star as Django in a benefit concert presentation of Ratatouille the Musical, an internet meme that originated on TikTok, inspired by the 2007 Disney/Pixar film.[34] The concert streamed exclusively on TodayTix on January 1, 2021, and raised over $1 million for The Actors Fund.[35] On September 8, 2022, Brady was announced as a contestant on season 31 of Dancing with the Stars. He was partnered with Witney Carson and they finished in 3rd place.[36][37]

Personal life

Brady and Taketa in 2015

Brady has been married twice. He married Diana Lasso on December 31, 1993. They divorced on September 21, 1995. On April 3, 1999, he married dancer Mandie Taketa. He and Taketa have one child, a daughter named Maile Masako Brady, born on February 3, 2003. Brady and Taketa separated on April 5, 2006, and Taketa filed for divorce on July 2, 2007. They have remained close friends and co-parents.[38]

In 2007, Brady became an official supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and is a member of their celebrity board, the Friends of RMHC.[39]

In 2013, Bill Maher compared Brady to President Barack Obama, in that, in popular culture, they were both supposedly "not Black enough". Brady took issue with this statement, suggesting that Maher should "be careful when [he makes] statements like that" because it will allow his viewers to make the same stereotypical assumptions about Black people.[40][41]

Brady has suffered from clinical depression. On his 42nd birthday, in 2014, he had a mental breakdown and later credited Taketa for helping him recover.[42]

In August 2023, Brady came out as pansexual.[43]

Brady is an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.[44]


Film work by Wayne Brady
Year Title Role Notes
2004 Clifford's Really Big Movie Shackelford Voice[45]
2005 Roll Bounce D.J. Johnny Feelgood
Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild Reeko Voice, direct-to-video[45]
2006 The Adventures of Brer Rabbit Brer Wolf Voice, direct-to-video[45]
Crossover Vaughn
2007 The List Lewis
2012 Foodfight! Daredevil Dan Voice[45]
2013 Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright Brick Pimiento Voice, direct-to-video[45]
1982 Alonzo
2014 The Hero of Color City Blue Voice[45]
2015 VeggieTales: Noah's Ark Shem Voice, direct-to-video[45]
2016 Todrick Hall: Straight Outta Oz Todrick's Father Visual album
2020 Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe Stapler Fist Voice[45]
Blindfire Javon
WRZ: White Racist Zombies Dr. Knowles Executive producer
2022 Blank Henry
2023 Self Reliance
Television work by Wayne Brady
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Superboy John Episode: "The Sons of Icarus"
1993 I'll Fly Away Damon 2 episodes
In the Heat of the Night Henry Ulmer Episode: "Hatton's Turn"
Clarissa Explains It All Pepe's Pizza Delivery Man Episode: "Editor in Chief"
1997–1999 Kwik Witz Himself Syndicated improv
1998 Oh Yeah! Cartoons Blotto Voice, episode: "Blotto"[45]
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (UK) Himself 3 episodes in Series 10
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (US) Starring: Seasons 2–7, 9–; recurring: Seasons 1 & 8
Also executive producer (Season 9–)
1999, 2000 The Drew Carey Show "Drew Live" and "Drew Live II" (improv episodes)
2000 Batman Beyond Micron Voice, episode: "The Call"
Geppetto Lazardo V The Magician Television film
2001–2004 The Wayne Brady Show Host Variety show
2002 Miss America
2003 The Electric Piper Sly Voice, television film[45]
American Dreams Jackie Wilson Episode: "The One"
2004 Chappelle's Show Himself 2 episodes
Sesame Street
Going to the Mat Mason Wyatt Television film
Reno 911! New Jones - Deputy Culufu Garwood Episode: "Department Investigation: Part 2"
2005 Stargate SG-1 Trelak Episode: "It's Good to be King"
Kevin Hill Pastor Jerry Carver 2 episodes
2006–2008 Everybody Hates Chris Louis 2 episodes
2006 Getting Along Famously Jackie Kinghorn Episode: "Toucha My Hand"
Higglytown Heroes Doctor Voice, episode: "A Slippery Situation"
Girlfriends Derek Tyler 4 episodes
Robot Chicken Pegasus 'Sunny Muffin', Salam Fayyad Voice, episode: "Adoption's an Option"
Shorty McShorts' Shorts Cameron Voice, 3 episodes
2006–2014 How I Met Your Mother James Stinson 13 episodes
2007 30 Rock Steven Black Episode: "The Source Awards"
Dirt Henchman Episode: "You Don't Know Jack"
2007–2009 Don't Forget the Lyrics! Host
2009–present Let's Make a Deal Executive producer (7 episodes)
2010 WWE Raw Himself
2011 Fast and Loose UK improv; 2 episodes
Are We There Yet? Devin Episode: "The Man and the Bragging Snafu Episode"
Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza Himself 5 episodes
RuPaul's Drag Race season 3 Himself/Guest judge Episode: "RuPaul's Hair Extravaganza"
The Fresh Beat Band Mr. Fondu Episode: "Pink Swan"
2012–2013 American Dad! Cuba Gooding Jr., Tungee Voice, 3 episodes
2012 Trust Us with Your Life Himself 7 episodes
Psych Hilton Fox Episode: "Shawn and the Real Girl"
Key & Peele Centipede Buddy Episode #2.6
2013–2018 Sofia the First Clover the Rabbit Voice, main role[45]
2013 The Problem Solverz Uncle Chocofuss Voice, episode: "Alfe Has a Baby"
So You Think You Can Dance Himself/Guest judge 2 episodes
Baby Daddy Chase Baxter Episode: "There's Something Fitchy Going On"
2013–2014 Phineas and Ferb Don the City Hall Tour Guide / various Voice, 2 episodes[45]
2013–2016 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself 9 episodes
2014 Hollywood Game Night Episode: "50 Charades of Grey"
So You Think You Can Dance Himself/Guest judge [46]
Being Mary Jane Sean Episode: "Mixed Messages"
TripTank Narrator, Dicky, Dad Voice, 2 episodes
The BET Honors Executive producer
2015 The Late Late Show Himself/Guest host 5 episodes
Open Carrie Stokley TV short
2016 Milo Murphy's Law Eugene Voice, episode: "The Doctor Zone Files/The Notes"
Aftermath Lamar 'Booner' Boone 2 episodes
2016–2022 The Loud House Harold McBride Voice, 19 episodes[45]
2017 Drop the Mic Himself Episode: "Wayne Brady vs. Jake Owen / Kenny G vs. Richard Marx"
2018 Colony Everett Kynes 8 episodes
2018–2019 The Bold and the Beautiful Dr. Reese Buckingham 41 episodes
2019 The Masked Singer Fox/Himself Season 2 winner
American Soul Little Richard Episode: "What Are You Looking At?"
2020 Black Lightning Tyson Sykes / Gravedigger 4 episodes
Wayne Brady's Comedy IQ Himself 10 episodes
The Neighborhood Councilman Isaiah Evans 2 episodes
Hell's Kitchen Himself Episode: "Shrimply Spectacular"
The Masked Singer Himself/Mr. TV/Guest panelist Season 4, episode 6
2021 Game of Talents Host Executive producer
Mixed-ish Geoffrey Episode: "Every Little Step"
2021–2022 The Good Fight Del Cooper 6 episodes
2022 A Black Lady Sketch Show Reggie[47] Episode: "Peaches and Eggplants for Errbody!"
That Damn Michael Che Dad Episode: "Ballad of a Thin Man"
Beat Bobby Flay Himself; guest host Episode: "Who's Wayne is it Anyway"
Dancing with the Stars[48] Himself Contestant; Season 31 (3rd place)
American Music Awards[49] Host
American Gigolo Lorenzo 6 episodes
The Cuphead Show! King Dice Voice[45]
2023 Make Some Noise[50] Himself Episode: "'Not Really My Thing' by Harry Styles"
2024 After Midnight Himself Contestant; Episode 16 (Super Bowl special)
Video game work by Wayne Brady
Year Title Role Notes
2008 The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon Sparx [45]
Music video work by Wayne Brady
Year Title Role Artist
2017 "Young Dumb & Broke" Janitor Khalid


Theater work by Wayne Brady
Year(s) Production Role Venue Location
2004 Chicago Billy Flynn Ambassador Theatre[51] Broadway
2010 Rent Tom Collins Hollywood Bowl[52] Los Angeles
2014 Kiss Me, Kate Fred Graham, Petruchio Pasadena Playhouse Pasadena
2015–2016 Kinky Boots Lola Al Hirschfeld Theatre[53] Broadway
2016 White Rabbit, Red Rabbit Solo Westside Theatre Off-Broadway[54]
Merrily We Roll Along Charley Kringas Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts[55] Los Angeles
2017 Hamilton Aaron Burr PrivateBank Theatre[56] Chicago
2018 Kinky Boots Lola Al Hirschfeld Theatre Broadway
2019–2020 Freestyle Love Supreme Self Booth Theatre Broadway
2021 Ratatouille the Musical Django Virtual concert
2022 Kinky Boots Lola Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles
2024 The Wiz The Wiz Golden Gate Theatre US National Tour
Pantages Theatre
Marquis Theatre[57][58] Broadway


This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately.Find sources: "Wayne Brady" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this message)


Year Album details Chart positions
2008 A Long Time Coming
157 20 2
2011 Radio Wayne

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program Whose Line Is It Anyway? Nominated [60]
2002 Nominated [61]
2003 Won [62]
Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Talk Show Host The Wayne Brady Show Won
2004 Won
2009 Grammy Awards Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance "A Change Is Gonna Come" Nominated [63]
2010 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Game Show Host Let's Make a Deal Nominated
2011 Nominated
2012 Nominated
2013 Nominated
2014 Nominated
Outstanding Original Song "30,000 Reasons to Love Me" for Let's Make a Deal (lyrics writer) Won
2016 Outstanding Game Show Host Let's Make a Deal Nominated
2017 Nominated
2018 Won
2019 Nominated
Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series The Bold and the Beautiful Nominated
2020 Outstanding Game Show Host Let's Make a Deal Nominated
2021 Nominated
2022 Nominated
2024 Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical The Wiz Nominated


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Further reading

Media offices Preceded byTony Danza Host of Miss America 2002 Succeeded byTom Bergeron Preceded byBob Barker Host, Daytime Emmy Awards 2003 Succeeded byVanessa Marcil Preceded byFirst Host Host of Don't Forget the Lyrics! 2007–2009 Succeeded byMark McGrath Preceded byBilly Bush Host of Let's Make a Deal 2009–present Succeeded by–