In the new comedy competition series, Wayne Brady hosts this reality show that combines a boot camp for young comics with the competition. The contestants compete in sketch, improv, stand-up, and more and learn how to use their life lessons to integrate into their routines.
Brady, the executive producer and host, met with members of the media to introduce this new show that premiered recently on BYUtv.
“Those of you that know my work, you know that, of course, comedy as improv is the thing that got me started on TV,” Brady said, “for the most part, in success, but I'd already been on TV for years before that doing a lot of drama and a lot of sitcom work, and before that tons of stage. And the improv thing was laid over on top of that.
“I don't do knock-knock jokes. Everything that I do, really, is born from years of being in the trenches, years of doing stage.”
For this show, titled "Wayne Brady's Comedy IQ," Brady explained, “We auditioned kids all over the U.S. We took a lot of online submissions. You looked on Instagram and Facebook.”
Brady was adamant about the backgrounds of the contestants.
“And then we also held a lot of live auditions because we were looking for a very specific -- I'm not going to say kid -- for a very specific young person. We didn't want someone who was already, you know, that showbiz kid that at 13 they're already, ‘I was the lead in ‘Annie’ four times.’ You know, you don't want that kid. Good for that kid because that kid, obviously, has a support structure to help them along, but at least in my journey being raised by my grandmother in the hood, and not knowing how I can get started, and bumping my head on these invisible walls, we wanted kids like that, kids who didn't know, and that's hard to find because it's a very socially savvy generation where they can just go on Instagram and go, ‘I've been in the lead in my own version of ‘Annie’ four times.’ ”
Brady also wanted to find kids who were eager and anxious about their work in comedy.
“We wanted kids that were hungry because we wanted to be able to pass on the life skill of, at least, the way that we look at show business, and I still look at show business," Brady said. "You should always be hungry. You should always want that next thing.”
For Brady, incorporating life into comedy is key.
“In putting the show together, we made this point to the network that when dealing with these kids you can only expect what you can expect. Improv or writing a joke is based on your life experience," he said. "So we even said that to them. 'If you only have this much life experience, what can you write about?' We empowered them to be able to use their life experience. A lot of what we delve into, especially in the sketch-writing episodes and the stand-up pieces, was, 'Tell us about yourself.' ”
The new show is a different direction for Brady who has been in show business for many years. Mentoring young talent is something he is looking forward to doing.
“You're getting to know these kids and we're both seeing these teens with dreams.”