Wayne Brady Revives the Classic Variety Show: Can He Pull It Off?

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 7, 2001 | Go to article overview

Wayne Brady Revives the Classic Variety Show: Can He Pull It Off?


Byline: Ted Cox

Zigging while others zag, ABC - the network that started the reality-TV craze two years ago with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" - strikes back against rampant reality with a return to the old- time variety show.

"The Wayne Brady Show," starring the musically inclined improvisational comic best know for his work on "Whose Line Is it Anyway?" debuts at 7 p.m. Wednesday on WLS Channel 7.

It strives, in no uncertain terms, to bring back the mixture of freeform comedy and musical production numbers that provided the lifeblood for "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Flip Wilson Show," even though variety programs have been in decline for decades and are now all but extinct from the TV environment.

Indeed, I can hear younger readers out there right now saying, "Who's Flip Wilson?"

Good thing they're probably already familiar with Brady, an immensely talented entertainer who eschews the conventional. If there is anyone who can revive the form it's him. Yet his show arrives with mixed signals.

It's good news that ABC is giving a variety show a shot at all; it's bad news that it's being dumped out in the dog days at the end of the summer. (Even if it's an instant hit, it will be off the air in six weeks when the fall season begins.) It's bad news that the pilot episode was not just hit-and-miss - that's the nature of the form - but that it was also edited in a slapdash manner.

While it's good news that ABC and Brady's production staff were tinkering with it right up to the premiere, it's doubtful that they can work magic on such a deadline. It doesn't help that the supporting cast was juggled along the way, with Missi Pyle and J.P. Manoux replacing Shulie Cowen and Joel McCrary.

It's good news that ABC has enough confidence in the show to promote it fairly heavily with on-air advertising. It's bad news that it may only serve to raise audience expectations beyond what the program can deliver.

So, while I've seen the pilot, I'm as curious as viewers who have been captivated by those same ads as to what "The Wayne Brady Show" is finally going to be like when it comes out of the box tomorrow night. For now, let me just pass on what I do know.

First is that Brady is a hilarious and inventive comic. His running James Brown 911 gags are a hoot, as when he bursts through a door to offer help to a woman giving CPR to her husband.

"Can 'e get uppa?" Brady's Brown chants.

If it's not quite as a funny when he helps an air-traffic controller with an emergency landing, that's just quibbling.

Brady has made his reputation improvising unlikely songs on "Whose Line," and he delivers the same here. He does a hilarious hip-hop number about a guy infatuated by his best friend's mother.

"Dude, your mom is hot," he sings, "like a tater tot. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Wayne Brady Revives the Classic Variety Show: Can He Pull It Off?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.