Wayne Brady still beams with pride over the greatest prank he ever pulled. "When I was young, I took my sister's Teddy Ruxpin [talking bear] doll and turned it into a demon by putting a tape of me in it," says the comedian, 30, who hosts the syndicated Wayne Brady Show. "When she expected it to go, 'Hi, I'm Teddy,' instead it said, 'I want your soul. Listen to your brother.' She had to obey me for two weeks. I'd change the tape every day and say, 'Do the laundry for your brother.' It was two weeks of bliss. Finally she told my mother, and I got my butt kicked."
Learning to Cher
"I play myself as the most narcissistic b---- you could ever imagine," says Cher, 56, about her role in Stuck on You, the upcoming comedy about Siamese twins starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear." [The directors] Peter and Bobby Farrelly said, 'It would be great if you just did yourself.' It's difficult to play yourself as a caricature if you don't see yourself as one." Problems also arise when prospective dates do think of you as a diva, admits the single singer-actress. "Once, Michelle Pfeiffer and I were at a club and no one asked us to dance," says Cher. "People kept looking at us, but no one had the guts. I think it's hard for men to be with a famous woman. It takes a certain kind of man to come up and talk to me."
Starway to Heaven
Strapping on a guitar to front an all-girl band in the upcoming indie flick Prey for Rock & Roll was a real kick for Gina Gershon. "Performing live music is the most fun I've had in a long time," says Gershon, 41, who previously dabbled in folk guitar and the mouth harp. Though she sings in the movie, her riffs weren't recorded, so the actress indulged her performance jones by playing a guest gig at a benefit in New York City with onetime Red Hot Chili Pepper Dave Navarro and Guns N' Roses alums Slash and Matt Sorum. "They were dream band-mates to have," says Gershon, whose set included a David Bowie tune. "There's something really sexy about turning around and seeing that you're onstage with these hot, sweaty, tattooed guys who are great musicians. It's like, 'Oh my God, I've gone to heaven.' "
With her endearing brand of physical comedy, teen actress Amanda Bynes has been compared to Lucille Ball. Turns out Bynes's onscreen klutziness isn't all an act. "I was in my apartment in England, and a paper near one of my candles caught on fire," says Bynes, 17, currently starring in What a Girl Wants. "I freaked out and tried to carry the paper to the sink. By the time I got there, the entire side of my left thumb was burned. I had to keep it under cold water for six hours." The injury also necessitated some fashion adjustments on the set of Girl. "The next day, I had to wear fancy satin gloves in the ballroom scene we were filming," says Bynes, "but I couldn't get it over my thumb. So they had to cut breathing room for it. How embarrassing."