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Energetic 'Wayne Brady Show' premiere is hit-or-miss

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

There's no denying Wayne Brady's talent or his enthusiasm, and his new self-titled variety show benefits from both. Unfortunately, that's not enough.

"The Wayne Brady Show" bursts with energy, but the humor is hit-or- miss and the sketches are often too short to be meaningful.

Blame the writing, which lurches from creative (two James Brown spoofs tonight) to contemptible (a cast member gets hit in the head by a board, which may have been a funny gag the first time it was performed, but now just feels tired).

That kind of derivative writing can't support a show as ambitious as this.

The improv sketches are sometimes amusing, but they often involve Brady doing impressions of celebrities. What happens when he exhausts his repertoire?

And a spoof of boy bands (singing "Dude your mom is hot/like a tater tot/whether you like it or not/she hits the spot") would be funnier if it didn't feel so out-of-date.

After all, it's been almost two years since the MTV parody "2gether" first aired.

A sketch with Brady dressed up as his grandmother is sweet and funny, but the best moment comes at the end of the first half-hour when Brady takes questions from the audience and a woman gives him an unexpected compliment.

An improv music segment with Brian McKnight and Justin Timberlake gets off to a rollicking start as they sing about a woman in the audience.

But then the cocky 'N Sync boy goes and turns it into a song about himself, singing, "Did I mention, I look like the stud from 'Cruel Intentions'?"

Leave it to Britney's boyfriend to mar Wayne Brady's already imperfect show.

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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