‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’: Wayne Brady Revisits an Old Sketch on Instagram Addressing Systemic Racism
After the tragic killing of George Floyd, citizens across America are demanding justice. The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired the nation to take a look at the dark history of systemic racism.
Celebrities, professional athletes, and musicians have come together to offer their support and promote change. Comedian Wayne Brady, a strong supporter of the movement, recently took to Instagram to share his feelings about an old sketch he did on Whose Line Is It Anyway? The performance that was considered to be done in good fun now carries a poignant message that reflects the current climate of the country.
‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’
Comedian Drew Carey hosted the improvisational comedy program from 1998 to 2007. The show returned to television in 2013, with Emmy award-winning Aisha Tyler taking over as host. Now in its sixteenth season, the series regulars include comedians Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, and Ryan Stiles. A guest star joins the cast each week to be the fourth player. They spontaneously act out scenes, create unique characters, and improvise on cue from prompts provided by the host or audience members.
Now the host of the classic daytime game show, Let’s Make A Deal, Brady posted the clip to his Instagram account saying, “When you’re joking but not really. When comedy and the truth meet up…”
Joking about the implications of systemic racism
The skit that he is referring to aired several years ago. Brady, who is Black, is standing in line with Mochrie, and special guest Ryan Stiles, both white men. Stiles pretends they are in a police lineup and asks, “Can you pick out the man that robbed you?” The audience roars with laughter as the white men point to Brady, who declares, “Y’all know that’s f*cked up, right?”
Tyler, who is also Black, then gets in on the action and turns the joke around. She lines the three white men up for a police lineup, and says to Brady, “Sir, can you pick out the man that embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars in the American economy, and then made you pay for it?”
The well-known comedian responds, “You mean after systemically devaluing my education and relegating me to certain neighborhoods where I couldn’t actually pursue the education that would enable me to rise to meet a certain fiscal stature in this country?”
As the skit comes to an end, Tyler continues, “And also preventing you from making any loans, or homes, or jobs, or businesses, or getting a car lease.”
Black Lives Matter
The post has since gone viral, finding its way to TikTok, where a user replied, “This happens to white ppl to…..GOD, I hate that ppl of color act like they are the ONLY victims in the world….if you only knew what I’ve endured.”
Brady adamantly responded, saying, “You must not have been paying attention to anything happening in this country right now because your response to this video was completely tone-deaf and ignorant.” The improv comedian passionately continued, “In fact, that statement speaks to what has been the conversation in terms of the white fragility and white privilege … If you took offense at a video or a certain viewpoint regarding race, then maybe it spoke to you in a way that you’re uncomfortable with. That’s on you, not on me.”
When CNN asked Tyler about the Whose Line Is It Anyway? clip, she replied, “This joke is part of a larger conversation which is that a lot of the time police pick a black guy, decide that he’s the criminal and then skew the entire judicial system, the justice system, and the police system against that person. We’ve seen it so many times … that skit really pointed to that constant ongoing fundamental prejudice in our culture that if there is a black guy around he’s got to be the bad guy.”