ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

05/05/2013 - 05/05/2013

Opera House, Wellington

07/05/2013 - 07/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

He’s been often cited as the ‘nice guy’ of entertainment in the United States, but multi-Emmy award winning comedian Wayne Brady will have you gagging for laughter as he makes a welcome return to the NZ International Comedy Festival.

The star of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Don’t Forget The Lyrics is well known for his improvisational genius, unique musical talents and limitless impersonation skills. Wayne Brady’s show features comedy, improv, singing, and even dancing.


Sun 5 May, 8pm
ASB Theatre, Auckland
Tickets: Adults $79.90* service fees may apply
Bookings: 0800 BUY TICKETS (289 842)

Tue 7 May, 8pm
The Opera House, Wellington
Tickets: Adults $79.90* service fees may apply
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

Show Duration: 1 hour

1 hr

Yes to the Yes

Review by Maryanne Cathro 08th May 2013

As far as I can tell, it’s been four years since Wayne Brady last made sh*t up onstage in New Zealand. Last time, he closed the show with a set of serious r&b songs from his new album. This time, he stuck to the comedy. The only serious music was Neil Diamond’s greatest hits playing as the capacity audience took its seats, which subsequently provided some great gags for Brady and his fellow performer, Jonathan Mangum. 

In a festival crammed with stand up comics, Wayne Brady is one of the few internationals to be doing something different. He opens the show with a rap that incorporates words that Mangum has elicited from the audience. These included pulchritudinous and xenophobic. Creating rhymes that make sense is one of his talents. As he admits in the show, he isn’t a doctor, he can’t save lives or cure people, but he can make sh*t up.

From the rap he moves to a series of improv sketches with Mangum and sometimes volunteers from the audience. Having been assured in advance that any volunteers will not be made to look stupid, the chosen few carry out the tasks given to them and are great sports in the process. In fact the only people to be at the wrong end of a joke all night are the aforementioned Neil Diamond, and a certain National MP who wondered if anyone knew who he was recently (turns out Wayne Brady did!).

The show closes with a set of Celebrity Idol, where Brady improvises hits with titles provided by the audience while impersonating Justin Bieber, Scott Stapp from Creed, Prince and MC Hammer among others.

Somewhere in the mists of time I was taught that improvisation is about being a Yes; to take the suggestions and the feedlines and run with them. To be a No shuts improv down. Perhaps this living in the Yes is why Wayne Brady is such a positive and enjoyable performer.

To see him live is to go home smiling and feeling good. And Mangum is no slouch either. For example, his Keith Richards is a hilarious accompaniment to Brad’s Mick Jagger impersonation.

And if a huge ovation from an enthusiastic audience can be interpreted as a Yes, then good on Brady and Mangum for running with it. The house lights were already on when they returned for an encore, which turned out to be a show highlight.

Because it is improv, no two shows will ever be alike. I suspect that Brady and Mangum have been working together so long they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves, but really what difference does it make in the end? What I mostly know is that as well as the rest of the sell out crowd at tonight’s show, I went home on a happy high that I am still experiencing.


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