Marlon Wayans has come a long way since In Living Color, Scary Movie and Requiem for a Dream.
Last year, NBC gave him his own television series, Marlon. After premiering for 10 episodes in the fall of 2017, Marlon was renewed for a second season, set to air later this year. He also had the leading role in the Netflix movie Naked in 2017, and in February, Netflix released his standup comedy special, Woke-Ish.
He’ll be returning to the area to perform at Spotlight 29 on Saturday, April 7.
During a recent phone interview, Wayans said he was proud that Marlon had been renewed for a second season.
“I worked hard to promote it, and I’m glad that it found an audience,” Wayans said. “People enjoy it, and I’m hoping we can build on that this upcoming season. The episodes have been really funny so far, and I can’t wait to just stand behind it and present it.”
Despite many years as a comedy-film star, Marlon had never done standup comedy until fairly recently.
“When you do these jokes and tour around the country with them, and it sticks, then you present it to the home audience, and they appreciate you. A good joke is a good joke,” Wayans said. “When you put it on Netflix, and it’s worldwide, you hope it connects as well. … I feel a difference when I hit the stage, and it’s exciting. Before, (audiences said), ‘Let me see if he’s funny,’ and now it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s funny!’”
Wayans said it has not been a problem to balance a television series with doing standup comedy at venues across the United States.
“I love it. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and I don’t have idle hands at all,” he said. “To me, it keeps me focused, keeps me grounded, keeps me in front of audiences—and I’m only getting better. When I do a movie or TV, I have that audience in my head. I think of what joke works the best or what joke goes too far. Everything prepares you for something, and I’m happy I found my purpose at a young age, but I’m mad that I started doing standup too late. My peers are tired of doing standup while I’m excited.”
In 2000, Wayans starred in a live-action film based on the famous role-playing board game Dungeons and Dragons. While the movie was a failure, he said the experience was a lot of fun.
“I did Requiem for a Dream, Scary Movie and Dungeons and Dragons concurrently. I was hopping between Vancouver, New York and Prague doing those three movies at the same time,” he explained. “It was fun to do Dungeons and Dragons, and it was a cute movie, but I wish it had a bigger budget. A movie like that should cost millions and millions of dollars.
“My kids cried when I died, given they were little at the time—all like, ‘Daddy’s dead!’ I had to reaffirm to them and be like, ‘No, Daddy is right here! That’s TV; Daddy is here.’ I used to play Dungeons and Dragons growing up during high school, so it was really surreal doing that movie.”
Despite being mentioned many times in Wayans brothers productions. Mrs. Wayans, his mother, has never made an appearance in any of their films.
“She keeps asking, but I know my mom,” he said. “I tell her, ‘Ma, you’re not going to like fame! If someone bothers you while you’re eating, you’re going to cuss them out.’ We call our mom the creative producer; she created all of us.”
There is one topic Wayans is dismayed to discuss.
“I hate having to talk about race in 2018,” he said. “I think South Africa had it right when they imprisoned someone for being racist. I think at this point in time, we should try to do away with racism and stop seeing the world in black and white. It’s sad.”
Marlon Wayans will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $25 to $45. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit www.spotlight29.com.