'Let's Make a Deal': Tackling mental health issues to bagging awards, a look at host Wayne Brady's life
Actor-singer-improv comic, Wayne Brady dons many hats. He has been active in the entertainment circuit since the late '90s and has been a part of some of television's most iconic shows including 'Let's Make a Deal', which returns to primetime on October 27 (Tuesday) at 9 pm ET on CBS. This is the premiere episode of Season 12 and is dedicated to honoring all essential workers who kept things functioning even when the world was observing a lockdown. They will be the ones playing games such as 'Smash for Cash' and 'Car Pong', and have a chance to win luxury cars, a recreational vehicle and up to $100K cash.
Brady will also be seen putting his singing chords to work and will keep everyone entertained like he's been doing since 2009 when he first stepped in to begin hosting the show. He's also been a part of 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?', an improv TV show where he's been making audiences laugh for years. Brady makes it look like it's an easy job to make crowds roar with laughter. However, there was a time when he didn't want to speak to anyone and wished no one could laugh at him.
Growing up, Brady lived with his grandparents, who were from the US Virgin Islands, in the low-income Tangelo Park. Due to this, he had a different dialect that invited a lot of trouble for him. The children in the Tangelo Park neighborhood used to steer clear of him thinking he wasn't behaving Black enough, according to Orlando Magazine. They believed that Brady thought he was too good for them and never really made him feel welcome. To top that, he used to go to the fancy Dr Phillips Elementary School, and later Dr Phillips High School, comprising a majority of White children and that exposed Brady to a fair share of bullying.
“It was bad enough to where I really did not want to talk to too many people, because I would get so worked up,” Brady said. "If I shut up, then you can't make fun of me," he added according to CBS News. All of his past troubles resulted in him developing mental health issues. He was severely anxious as a child due to all the bullying and he developed a mild stutter. He has also suffered from clinical depression and not many years ago, on his 42nd birthday, he had a full-blown mental breakdown which his ex-wife Taketa helped him overcome. They got divorced in 2007 but continue to remain good friends.
Coming back to his growing up years, Brady had hit his lowest low at one point in time and that's when it occurred to him that his love for acting and comedy was his only escape and he clung to it. "Either you break under that pressure as a kid, 'cause bullying is no joke, or you learn to take it and give it back and do it in a way that gets a positive response," he said. "That’s what acting was for me." This doesn't mean Brady didn't fight those children back, he did. However, along with using his fists, he also learned how to use his wit and that's what got him where he is today. “If someone had one of those ‘yo mama’ jokes, I had to have a quick comeback ready, which has served me later in life,” he told Orlando Magazine.
His quick response to his bullies helped him get through life and rise above the negatives. However, he set his breakthrough into motion as he walked into Director of Theater at Dr Phillips High School, Karen Rugerio's drama class. She immediately noticed that Brady's talent and craft deserved to be recognized by the world and they worked together to make it happen. One thing led to another since then and three decades down the line, Brady has done it all. Be it commercials to Hollywood to Broadway productions ('Kinky Boots', 'Chicago') Brady had tried his hands at everything and his talents have warranted his success.
He's also a noted R&B musician, apart from being a dancer, actor, songwriter and improv comic. For all of this, Brady has garnered six Emmys and a Grammy nomination. Speaking about a recent highlight from his TV career, he also won Season 2 of 'The Masked Singer' and he will be seen as a guest judge on Season 4 of the show that is currently on the air.
Brady's work in the industry has helped him achieve a lot and celebrating all of his highs is this huge fan following that he's amassed. Brady also works really hard to keep them entertained, his Instagram page is full of fun TikTok videos featuring him which his followers love to watch.