Celebrities don't spend every day sipping champagne out of chalices made of caviar and diamonds on George Clooney's yacht. Just like you and I, they like to curl up on a couch from time to time and veg out in front of their TVs. And while their actual physical TVs may be the size of three football fields and their couches hoisted off the ground by their personal assistants, they still watch the same stuff we do. Thus was born "Celebrity High-Five," a new, recurring feature in which we'll ask famous faces to list their top five TV shows. Who knows, maybe one of them will be your TV-watching soulmate!
To inaugurate the franchise, earlier this week I caught up with the multi-talented singer and comedic actor Wayne Brady, who was on his way to tape the 500th episode of CBS's Let's Make A Deal (it airs this coming Monday, Monday, March 26). "It's an incredible milestone for any show to be able to reach 500 episodes, and especially in this day and age, so, that in itself is—amazing," he told me as he headed to the studio.
On the topic of being a true TV showman, I asked him which shows were his favorite when he was growing up. "I watched a lot of black-and-white stuff," he said. "I was a PBS Kid and my mom didn't let me watch the good stuff on regular TV. I grew up watching a lot of classic shows and I’m thinking, ‘Man, it would be so cool to be those guys.’ And by 'those guys' I mean guys in all the early film and comedy styles; anyone from Sammy Davis Jr. to Sidney Poitier to Gene Kelley to Ernie Kovacs."
So, without further ado, here are Brady's top five TV shows, from both the past and the present, and why they made his list.
"Raising Hope is incredibly smart. It has a lot of heart and it's funny—god it's funny! The cast? You cant get much better than what those guys do."
"Just like a lot people, I like to yell out the answer as loud as I can across the room."
"Oddly enough, Roseanne. If you really watched it and you were a fan—then you knew how dope of an actor Roseanne became by the end of the show. She really had a natural thing, the show was real. You didn't have to be white, or in their circumstance, to get what they were doing as a family, or to understand some of the horrible ups-and-downs that they had."
"On the educational tip, The Electric Company was a great show. It was like SNL for kids. It was Morgan Freeman’s first show, and he played a character called "Easy Reader." He would come on with that Morgan Freeman voice and say, ‘Hey everybody, this is Eaaaaaasy Reader.’ And there would be some ‘70s music playing in the background, and then he would say, ‘Today we're going to read, y'all.’ Rita Moreno from West Sidee Story was also in it. And speaking of influences, that’s one show that I think, while watching as a kid, I was secretly filing away the 'I want to be a writer' idea, because I loved how those sketches made me learn. If it wasn't for The Electric Company and The School of Rock on ABC I don’t know how I would've gone through math."
"[My number one is actually] a tie between The Electric Company and The Carol Burnett Show. The biggest moment of my life is when Carol Burnett came up to me and said, 'You are like a guy version of me.'"
What do you think of Brady's picks? Did any of them surprise you?
Let's Make A Deal celebrates its 500th episode on Monday, March 26 at 3pm on CBS.