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Wayne Brady: Nurture and nature

Growing up in Orlando, Wayne Brady was taught at an early age about Southern hospitality. He says that kind of charm lives with him, even today. "It's not something that you lose. I'm not a 20-year-kid out on my own for the first time seeing the big city," he says. "The way that I was, is the way that I am now – it's programmed. My mom did a pretty good job instilling that in me."

On Friday, you can wish the ever-charming Brady a happy belated birthday. The actor, singer and sketch comedian (who turned 41 on Saturday) will perform at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

We chatted with the "Whose Line Is It Anyway" star via phone about show biz and what makes a comedian funny.

How are you able to be so witty on the spot?

I don't think you develop the "wit." I think some people are predisposed to it, and for me, it's really just an acting tool that has spun into something else. It's nothing that I sat down and said, "Oh, I'm going to try to develop this." I think some people are born with a certain way of thinking, whether it's being able to use your imagination or think outside the box to connect things quickly.

One of your online projects [with Somebody Records] is to showcase the music of little-known musicians and artists. How does it differ from TV shows such as "American Idol"?

The sad part on those shows [is] there are a lot of people that use it as springboard [for fame], but more often than not, people that are on those big shows get chewed up and spit out, and the people that audition and get on, they are miscounted for. Then, there's some of the people that are walking around on the street working these little jobs to try to get by. So the new project is a way to try to give the underdog a shine, too.

What's your advice to upcoming sketch comedians, artists and actors?

You're not going to make everybody laugh. The most you could hope for is an incredible, huge average -- that most people like what you do or a bunch of people like what it is. But the important thing is that you like it, and you keep honing your art, keep your head down and keep trying it out. You fail, you go back. You fail, even less, you go back. You fail really, really hard, then you're back again and you might be brilliant and realize, "Oh, what was that thing that stuck out that I actually did right, that made it different than the first three times when I fell on my face?"

What goals have you set for yourself in the next 10 years?

I'd like to have a prime-time or an HBO improv sketch special. I'd like to go back to Broadway, but this time with an original show that I'm an original cast member of or with a one-man show. I'd like to get nominated and win another Grammy. There's always goals. Those are some of the shorter term ones I can think of. But I think you should always create and set certain things for yourself. Five, 10, 15, 20 years. I plan on doing this until I can't walk anymore.

Wayne Brady will perform 9 p.m. Friday, June 7, at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5555 NW 40th St. Go to

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