On the road to becoming dramatic actor, singer, dancer and funny guy, Wayne Brady learned as he went.
"Everything I learned, I learned on the job," he said. "My grandmother that raised me as a single mother didn't know anything about dance class or voice class.
"So I didn't learn to dance in class. I used to dance on the corner with a couple of my friends in my neighborhood when break dancing first started."
When he got a job at Disney World as a performer when he was still a teen, he recalled having to learn a dance for the show and thinking, "This is called choreography?"
"I would stand next to the best person, and I would copy them move for move," Brady said.
As it turned out, things moved quickly for Brady, now 40, who grew up in Florida.
From his start in a high school play to a gig at Disney, Brady was launched - and launched himself by hard work and natural talent - into an entertainment career that has included a versatile mix of acting, improvisation, singing and dance.
It's improvisation that brings the host of the "Let's Make a Deal" revival to the Clay Center Sunday night for a show with keyboardist Jonathan Magnum.
Unlike his stint in the ensemble improv show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway," this one puts the onus squarely on Brady's shoulders to engage the audience.
It can be terrifying.
"It's supposed to scare you, and I mean the performer," Brady said, adding that Keith Johnstone, one of the gurus of improvisational theater, says it should be scary.
"Improv is a non-exact science," Brady said. "You're making it up on the spot, so there should be a level of fear. The entire time, that's the space you should be into always - be in the moment. You know it's probably bound to fail, and that's how you learn."
Live improv as he does is different from the televised version, which Brady called "a kind of parlor trick. That's the end result that people see."
"Improv is meant to be a teaching tool. Most of the real improv is not funny - it's not meant to be funny. You're just trying to create scenes and scenarios."
Those who attend Brady's show Sunday night will play a big hand in the show; they'll be asked to help provide scenarios and even step up on stage.
Brady said for one part of the show audience members are permitted to ask him anything - they have to stand up and voice the question, which helps weed out anything inappropriate, he said.
"I'll be completely truthful and then my answers become a funny monologue or a story or an impersonation. The entire show is about being in the moment."