Today at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, family entertainment network BYUtv announced its new comedy competition series “Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ,” created and hosted by multiple Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated Wayne Brady and his producing partner, Mandie Taketa. The show, which counts Queen Latifah among its executive producers, will premiere on April 6, 2020. Talented young people from across the country compete in a one-of-a-kind performers’ bootcamp to demonstrate the highest “comedy IQ.” Each new challenge teaches them to be multi-faceted in writing, directing, performing and creating comedic and musical content. Along the way, the teens learn universal skills that can bring them success in the real world.
The 10-episode unscripted series has completed production in Los Angeles and was executive produced by Wayne Brady, Mandie Taketa, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Mechelle Collins and Kevin Dill of Intuitive Entertainment (Bravo’s “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” Lifetime’s “The Rap Game”) and BYUtv.
“The brilliant Wayne Brady and his producing partner, Mandie Taketa, came to us with a passion and plan for finding and nurturing young artists that we were delighted to make a reality,” said Michael Dunn, managing director of BYUtv. “What’s special about ‘Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ’ is that it guides the contestants in navigating achievement, rejection and resiliency both in the entertainment industry and in everyday life. It’s a positive show about the human side of humor and reaching our own potential.”
“Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ” kicks off with Brady auditioning hundreds of young people to find the select few he plans to mentor in his academy. The top 11 talented hopefuls are:
- Thomas “TJ” Boyce III (14, Houston) – TJ is a budding standup star who writes all his own material. He loves to rap and do impersonations of celebrities such as Kanye West and Barack Obama. He has performed in commercials and local theater.
- Bryson Brunson (16, New York City) – A proud New York native, Bryson has been taking acting classes through a local nonprofit at his school and dreams of one day starring on Broadway. His father passed away when Bryson was just 10 years old.
- Dylan Gann (16, Temecula, Calif.) – With only two years of drama experience at her local school, Dylan’s first major audition was for “Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ,” and she immediately impressed. She has more than 121,000 views on YouTube.
- Julio Garcia (14, Pomona, Calif.) – Julio, whose parents are originally from Mexico, attends a performing arts school, studying musical theater. He plays the trombone and has decided he wants to become “the greatest showman.”
- Dori Green (15, Nipomo, Calif.) – Captain of her school improv troupe, Dori is also a singer-songwriter. She was born without hip sockets and spent the first six months of her life in a harness, but now she loves to perform.
- Dane Jamieson (16, Long Beach, Calif.) – The son of an acting coach and an accomplished video game voiceover artist, Dane is a seasoned actor, drummer, singer and dancer who loves incorporating different voices into his comedy.
- Nya Jolie (14, Philadelphia) – Nya started entering beauty pageants at three months, has been auditioning for film and commercials since the age of five, and started vocal lessons the following year. Nya is a self-taught dancer and piano player.
- Trent Mason (15, White Plains, Maryland) – With over 50 digits of pi memorized and the ability to solve a Rubik’s cube in 20 seconds or less, this super intelligent content creator has written, starred in and created over 100 YouTube videos.
- Alexis Sanchez (17, Riverside, Calif.) – Alexis’ grandfather was a radio personality in Costa Rica, but unable to get an entertainment job in the U.S., he painted cars for the rest of his life. It’s important to Alexis to follow her dreams and her family legacy.
- Camaron Steen (14, Houston) – Camaron attended Rage Complex, Hollywood Launch and ImmaBEAST in pursuit of becoming a triple threat. He was a backup dancer for J. Cole at the BET Awards and Justin Bieber.
- Sawyer Valin (13, Los Angeles) – The youngest in the competition, Sawyer plays guitar and has taken improv classes with the Groundlings. He has previously co-starred in a Lele Pons YouTube video, which now has over 41 million views.
By the end of the premiere episode, Brady chooses six teens to test on all things related to comedy, improv, writing, directing, acting, singing, dancing and more in challenges such as:
- Improvised news broadcast with “Whose Line is it Anyway” star Colin Mochrie
- Performing standup on the iconic Hollywood Improv stage with guest star Sinbad
- Comedy Sportz battle featuring “Whose Line is it Anyway” alums Jonathan Mangum and Wayne Brady going head to head as team captains
- Writing and performing in comedic sketches on the renowned Second City stage
- Writing, directing and performing in their own SNL-style show at the world-famous Upright Citizens Brigade
Throughout the show’s 10 episodes, difficult eliminations take place until a deserving winner is finally crowned, winning a prize package that includes:
- Special guest appearance on BYUtv’s “Studio C”
- Chance to perform with Brady on one of his tour dates
- Camera, lighting, audio and computer equipment to assist with future content creation
- $10,000 development seed money to help kickstart a career
In addition to “Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ,” BYUtv’s original programming slate includes “Dwight in Shining Armor,” a comedy in which the Middle Ages meets Middle America; the long-running sketch comedy series “Studio C,” which touts nearly two billion views on YouTube; “Relative Race,” the first family-history based competitive reality show that follows four teams as they meet relatives linked by DNA for the first time in a race throughout the United States; and “Random Acts,” an unscripted hidden-camera reality show that highlights the altruistic nature of human beings by featuring real people who are the recipients of random acts of kindness. BYUtv is available across the country via cable, satellite and multiple digital media platforms.
For a complete listing of BYUtv’s programming and to view full episodes, visit www.byutv.org or download the free app.
About Wayne Brady
Wayne Brady has made his mark on stage and screen as an actor, singer, dancer, improviser, songwriter and television personality. In December 2019, Brady was named the winner of season two of “The Masked Singer.” On the heels of his win, Brady dropped a brand-new original single, entitled “Flirtin’ with Forever,” which quickly climbed the streaming charts. Brady’s debut album was released in September 2008, earning him a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance category. Brady is known across America as host of the iconic CBS game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” which has earned him two Daytime Emmy Awards – Outstanding Game Show Host and Outstanding Original Song. His previous foray into daytime television, “The Wayne Brady Show,” earned him two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Brady was also nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards – winning one – for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for his stellar work on the American version of the improvisational comedy television series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” In 2020, Wayne Brady brings his dramatic acting talents to the CW’s “Black Lightning.” Brady’s additional television credits include a recent role on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” which earned him yet another Daytime Emmy Award nomination, as well as “Chappelle’s Show,” “Colony,” “Aftermath,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Key and Peele,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “30 Rock.” A talented vocal artist, Brady has lent his voice to “The Loud House,” “Sofia the First,” “Phineas and Pherb,” “Robot Chicken” and “American Dad,” among others. On stage, Brady has starred in “Chicago” and “Kinky Boots” on Broadway and in the Chicago production of “Hamilton.”
About Mandie Taketa
Mandie Taketa is a multi-hyphenate creative with directing/performing roots in theatre, film and dance. As a creative director, she’s helped to conceptualize and mount Wayne Brady’s residency at The Venetian Hotel and Casino. She also directed the Australian tour for DVD. For television, she’s created, choreographed, and directed musical numbers and sketches for “The Wayne Brady Show” on ABC and consulted and directed Mr. Brady in musical comedy numbers on the syndicated talk show, “The Wayne Brady Show.” Currently, besides co-creating and executive producing BYUtv’s new “Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ,” she’s co-created a new dramedy along with Jerry Bruckheimer TV for development at CBS All Access. She’s also co-produced or directed opening numbers or performances for Mr. Brady for the following shows: “The BET Honors,” “The NAACP Image,” “The Late Show,” “The Daytime Emmy Awards,” “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “The Talk.” On the music front, Miss Taketa has produced and directed music videos for two of Wayne’s singles: “All Naturally” and the newest release “Flirtin’ with Forever.” Miss Taketa and Mr. Brady share a creative work relationship spanning over 20 years.
BYUtv provides families more than 1,700 hours of entertaining and compelling programming they can enjoy together. The network’s content is trusted, contemporary and clean, yet clever and sophisticated enough to inspire children and parents alike. BYUtv’s diverse portfolio of original, co-produced and acquired content includes scripted and unscripted dramas and comedies, 700+ hours of live HD collegiate sports, game shows, and holiday special made-for-tv movies, docudramas and concerts. BYUtv is available in more than 50 million homes in every state of the country on DISH Network, DirecTV and 146 other major cable systems. A digital pioneer, BYUtv was the first U.S. television network to stream all of its content live and unencrypted over the internet. Today, BYUtv has more than two million YouTube subscribers and nearly two billion views and is available live and on-demand on multiple digital platforms free of charge, including Apple TV, YouTube, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Xbox One, Windows Media, digital apps for iOS and Android, and BYUtv.org. Based in Provo, Utah, BYUtv is part of BYU Broadcasting, which is owned by Brigham Young University.
About Intuitive Entertainment
Intuitive Entertainment is a television, film, and multimedia content company dedicated to “storytelling with style and character.” Mechelle Collins and Kevin Dill opened Intuitive’s doors in 2006. Since its inception, Intuitive has produced thousands of hours of content for many networks including Bravo, E!, Lifetime, A&E, TLC, Discovery, The Food Network and Discovery ID. Intuitive Entertainment was awarded the Realscreen Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Reality/Docuformat” for their hit show “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” which spanned eight seasons on Bravo. Intuitive’s blockbuster hit “The Rap Game,” featuring hitmaker producer Jermaine Dupri, premiered its fifth season on Lifetime in 2019, and is now a successful international format. “The Pop Game,” with mega producer Timbaland, also began airing in 2018. Other recent series include “Atlanta Plastic” for Lifetime, “Pit Boss” for Animal Planet, “LA Shrinks” for Bravo and “Married with Secrets” for Discovery ID. In addition to television series, Intuitive has also produced several award-winning documentaries including “See Me” with Susan Sarandon, “Spotlight 25” with Willow Bay and “Juvies” for MTV.
About Flavor Unit Entertainment
Flavor Unit Entertainment, the production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere, was behind the hit feature comedies “Bringing Down the House,” “Beauty Shop” and “The Perfect Holiday.” Flavor Unit also produced the films “The Cookout” and “Just Wright,” as well as HBO’s award-winning films “Bessie” and “Life Support.” Latifah and Compere produced “The Real MVP: The Wanda Pratt Story,” “The Best Place to Be,” “Curvy Style with Timothy Snell,” “The Perfect Match” and “The Rap Game.” Additionally, Flavor Unit produced the one-hour special event “Dear Mama,” which premiered on Mother’s Day in 2016, and has since been renewed as an annual special. Upcoming projects include the highly anticipated Salt-N-Pepa biopic (Lifetime), the film “The Clark Sisters: Legends of Gospel” (Lifetime) alongside other EPs Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliot and the upcoming urban teen comedy “Paper Chase.” The company was recently signed by United Talent Agency.