Taking the stage with Wayne Brady
by Scott Brandon Hoffman
Because I had to.
I always wanted to be a writer, comedian, performer, and to make people laugh.
It was time to finally answer my life long calling and take on my dreaded dragons and personal fears of being on stage.
So I came and I schmoozed!
I got a few meetings quickly with some pretty big people on TV comedy shows including Everybody Loves Raymond and The Drew Carey Show, which didn’t really lead anywhere.
Those early meetings felt like I was trying to “make things happen” and were for me to feel and sound more Hollywood than I really was.
Then I got my first sign, and it came without “pursuing” or “pushing” anything.
I was in the audience of a Wayne Brady performance one night. I had a feeling that I was supposed to be there for some reason, so I went, hoping to enjoy the show and maybe learn something from watching the master of Improv.
The next thing I know, I was plucked out from the audience to go on stage with Wayne.
I didn’t have time to freak out until I got up there.
I hadn’t really been on stage yet, and definitely not with a celebrity having to perform Improv in front of a live audience.
My heart was pounding, my hands were sweating, and my mouth was dry as I was staring out from the stage at all the people watching me — it was a true movie moment. Wayne was on stage next to me looking and being totally cool and “Wayne-like,” and me, some trader dude, entertainment wannabe from Chicago, trying to figure out what to do next.
I’m facing one of my biggest fears and shaking in my boots. At the same time, experiencing one of my biggest dreams coming true, not to mention Wayne Brady whispering sweet nothings in my ear telling me what the scene is and what character to play. … I was the Godfather.
He looked me in the eyes, patted me on the shoulder, and said “You’re on dude.”
I stood there and started to improv the scene with him… a totally surreal moment that felt like it lasted a lifetime.
There it was, my first “Hollywood” performance, improvising a Godfather scene with one of the best improvisers ever… I even got some great laughs and had an absolute blast. That first experience planted a deep subconscious anchor in me of how it feels to be on stage, fully present, doing what I love, side by side with one of the best in the biz, and it’s always stayed with me as my north star.
Like most people in the biz, it hasn’t been a smooth ride. I’ve had tons of letdowns and have fallen on my ass more than once, but I’ve always gotten back up and held onto the dream.
And one thing I do know for sure…
Every time that I “chase something” and “try to make it happen” from my head or ego and not my heart, it usually leads to a dead end or worse yet, the wrong end!
When I follow my heart and intuition, listen to it, trust it, and let that lead me, life just works… and the Universe always opens up a whole new way that flows perfectly just about every single time, even when I don’t see it coming.Tags: Follow your dreams, Hollywood, Improv, Performing live, Scott Brandon Hoffman, Trust your instinct, Wayne Brady