Multitalented actor, host, and comedian Wayne Brady has made audiences laugh for years on shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway, Let’s Make A Deal, and Dave Chappelle’s Chapelle’s Show. But he never imagined that he would be doing this. As a matter of fact, he never thought he’d live long enough even to see this age.
“Because my father passed away at the age of 45, and I lived in fear for years that I would die when I reached 45. So when I open my eyes — when the Lord lets…, that’s another year that I’m grateful for, and I’m grateful in the midst of all this.”
“I’m so grateful… with a beautiful daughter and an incredible best friend, and a life that I never even imagined I might have,” confessed Brady on his last birthday.
Now, years later, at age 50, Brady reflects on his life: At 16, Brady started performing in community theater and at the Orlando improv troupe SAK Comedy Lab, where he first started developing his improv skills. He attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, where he graduated in 1989. In 1990, he enrolled at the University of Miami. In 1996, he moved to Los Angeles, where he continued developing his acting skills.
He was the host of the daytime talk show The Wayne Brady Show, the original host of Fox’s Don’t Forget the Lyrics!, and has hosted Let’s Make a Deal since its 2009 revival. Brady also performed in the Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots on Broadway.
Even with all his success, Brady has been dealing with a lot of pain behind the scenes, according to a press release.
Brady’s depression began to send him on a downward spiral, so much so that it ended his marriage in 2006. But the turning point for him was his 42nd birthday in 2013. That’s when he hit rock bottom emotionally. Holding nothing back, the comedian gave a very stark description of his low point on Entertainment Tonight.
“I was there by myself, in my bedroom, and I had a complete breakdown,” said Brady.
“Just go ahead and imagine for yourself a brother in his underwear, in his room, you got snot… and that birthday was the beginning of, ‘OK, I’ve got to make a change.'”
He was careful to point out that this was the moment he knew he couldn’t allow himself to continue to wallow. The comedian explained that depression is a vicious cycle, where you tell yourself a lot of bad lies about yourself, and you feel down. A depressed person continually internalizes the negative thoughts until they eventually become true to you, and you no longer see the value in your own life.
“Some days, you don’t want to move. You’re in the darkness, and as much as it hurts, you say to yourself, I’m going to sit right here. Why, because this is what I deserve because I am that horrible of a person.”
Having a breakdown on his birthday was just the starting point for his healing journey. It still wasn’t an immediate change for Brady.
“It took me a while to get my stuff together to go, ‘You know what? If you’re not happy, you have to do something about it,'” he said.
“Just to admit that you are feeling this way is a huge step. To claim that, to say, ‘Why do I feel dark? Why do I feel unhappy? Let me do something about this.'”