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Brady’s new line: talk-show host who listens a little too well

Times Staff Writer

If those mysterious TV king-makers ever tried to assemble the perfect talk-show host in their laboratory high in the Hollywood Hills, the resulting entity might come out looking an awful lot like Wayne Brady.

At the tender age of 30, the Florida native is already a veteran of the stand-up comedy circuit, his improv skills have earned him a pair of Emmy nominations as a member of the “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” troupe, and he can sing better than 99% of the popified poseurs on today’s Top 40 list.

Throw in his smooth good looks, sure stage presence and the effortless warmth he projects with guests and audience members alike, and Brady would seem to be a talk talent of monstrous proportions.

The buzz has been so strong that even when the weekly prime-time variety show he helmed last year for ABC ran aground, it was blamed on time-slot problems and other vagaries of the business, and so a new project, a syndicated daily talk show, was launched Sept. 2.

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The good news is that “The Wayne Brady Show,” which airs here weekdays at 10 a.m. on KCAL, seems to be a good fit for the host, and executive producing pros Robert Morton and Bernie Brillstein are on hand to oversee the show’s direction and ongoing fine-tuning.

Like the Sundance Kid, Brady seems most on target when he’s on the move, using his quicksilver wit while prowling the stage in loosely constructed bits that allow for improvisation. Behind the host’s desk, however, he can become too good a listener, failing to rein in guests whose anecdotes wander into nowheresville.

It’s a daily high-wire act, but I don’t think Wayne Brady would have it any other way.


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