The Wayans Brothers are an American institution, thanks to their various comedy TV shows and movies.
The youngest of the Wayans Brothers in showbiz is Marlon, who appeared with his family members on the iconic early 1990s sketch show In Living Color. He’s also known for playing Loc Dog in the ’90s Wayans comedy film Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, and for more-serious roles in films such as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Requiem for a Dream.
Marlon Wayans will helm a new television series titled Marlon, which will premiere on NBC in August, and stars in the upcoming Netflix original film Naked. Ever-busy, he’s also doing stand-up comedy and will be appearing at Morongo Casino Resort Spa on Friday, June 2.
During a recent phone interview with Wayans—which was interrupted by his mother calling him at one point—he discussed his upcoming sitcom on NBC.
“We filmed 10 episodes, and I’m really proud of every episode,” Wayans said. “We had a great writing staff. I feel like you hit that point in your career where everything starts making sense, and you understand putting it all together instead of just being funny. What I love about the show is it’s funny based on the circumstances, truth and point of view. It’s also funny because of the characters. At the end of the day, it has heart. Coming from parody for most of my life, when you start getting into good television, it’s not just about the jokes, but (also) if you made people think.
“I took a break from doing stand-up, and when I went back to stand-up after doing Marlon, it made me a better comedian.”
Making romantic-comedy Naked also gave Wayans the opportunity to show off his acting abilities.
“I have a background in actual dramatic acting. What’s great about Naked and my television show is I have real scenes and real acting,” he said. “I have to let the situation take the character to the elevated place, and it’s not just me running around naked. I have a purpose (in Naked): My purpose is to get married. I’m late for my wedding; I went out for a drink; I had too many; I woke up the next day buck-naked in the elevator not knowing how I got there. I’m over an hour late for my wedding, and I have to run across town to get there, and if I don’t have the right ring, the right suit or the right vows, I have to start back in the elevator and repeat the same hour over and over again, butt-naked, until I give my girl the proper wedding. It’s like a broader version of Groundhog Day.”
When I brought up the psychological drama Requiem for a Dream, he laughed and repeated the title in a deep voice. I told him I recently saw the film on a list of movies that you can’t watch more than once.
“People tell me all the time, ‘I LOVED YOU IN REQUIEM FOR A DREAM!’ and the guy next to him high on weed is like, ‘I loved you in Scary Movie, son!’” he said. “But I was in it! I watched it one time, and I haven’t seen it since. It depresses me. I called my mama after I did that movie and was like, ‘Mom, I’m so sorry if I did anything to piss you off. I’m so sorry. I know you’re lonely. Move in with me in California!’ That’s the mark of a good movie, though—if you feel different after you see it. It’s like a roller-coaster ride that keeps going down and goes down into the ground and into hell, and you die from there.”
The box-office smash Scary Movie in 2000 and the sequel Scary Movie 2 in 2001 were created and helmed by the Wayans brothers. However, David Zucker was chosen to continue the franchise after that, with no involvement from the Wayans.
“I think he did his version of it. I don’t think it was a good job or a bad job. It was different,” he said. “If I cook steak one way, and somebody else says, ‘I’m going to make steak,’ he’s going to use different seasonings. David Zucker is a funny guy in his own right. He has his own way of doing things, and it’s not the brand that we do. But it’s different, and it’s all subjective. It’s not what we would have done, but I get it.”
Wayans shared his favorite part about making the first two films.
“Chris Elliott came in and did a role in Scary Movie 2, and he was so damn funny,” Wayans said. “It was like being a kid again and watching Jim Carrey and Damon (Wayans) on the set of In Living Color: You’re in the scene, but you’re laughing so hard on the inside.”
Marlon Wayans’ White Chicks is one of his most famous films. Fun fact: It opened on the same weekend as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
“I had a great time filming every movie,” Wayans said. “I loved the experience of Don’t Be a Menace. Scary Movie was great because it was our biggest, and White Chicks was the hardest thing to do and the most miraculous thing we pulled off. People everywhere loved White Chicks—especially white chicks. That makeup was hell. It was very hard, and it’s a mental thing. It messes with your mind, because you can’t breathe, and it feels like someone is suffocating you. I couldn’t wait to rip it off my face when they said it was a wrap.”
Wayans intends to stay busy, and has other projects in development.
“I have a show (coming up) on MTV called High Crimes, which is a clip show of dumb people doing crimes when they’re high. That’s going to be airing soon, and I’m producing that one,” he said. “There are also a couple of pilots I’m producing. I’m really focusing on my stand-up, because I want to do a special, and I’m getting to a place to where I’m feeling special. I’m trying to perfect myself, and I want to keep getting better. I’ve been doing this 25 years, and I’m blessed to have had a long career and a long stay, but I feel like I haven’t had my best moment yet. I’m still hungry for it, and I feel like the next 20 years are my best years ahead of me.”
Marlon Wayans will perform at 9 p.m., Friday, June 2, at Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. Tickets are $23 to $39. For more information, call 800-252-4499, or visit www.morongocasinoresort.com.