Marlon Wayans on the Moment: "I Just Fell in Love with the Art of Standup"
The Wayans family is to comedy what the sun is to the Earth. They've been such a consistent force in that, sometimes, you can forget they're there. Then all of the sudden, you turn your head and you're blinded. Everything they've done for comedy comes flooding at you at once.
The youngest member of the Wayans clan, and one of the brightest reminders of their power, is Marlon Wayans. And, actually, the sun might not be the best metaphor for Marlon, because the sun will stop burning one day. I'm not convinced Marlon ever will.
If his previous credits on projects like In Living Color, The Wayans Bros., Scary Movie, and White Chicks aren't enough for you, then just look at what he's doing right now.
Marlon is currently touring and performing standup with his brother Shawn. The sequel to his independently released movie, A Haunted House, comes out on April 18. He has a new talent competition coming to TBS called Funniest Wins. And the winner of that competition will get their own series on his brand new sketch comedy website whatthefunny.com that he founded with he founded with Funny or Die co-founder Randy Adams.
If you still want more Marlon, go ahead and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or just go see him and his brother, Shawn, perform at the Fort Lauderdale Improv February 20 through 23.
New Times: So you were the youngest of ten kids. Ten kids is way too many kids in a normal family. I can't imagine ten Wayans running around. What was it like to grow up in that environment?
Marlon Wayans: Picture Cirque du Soleil, except we're not that flexible. It's like a circus, but there was no ringmaster. Picture the monkey cage at the zoo -- if you gave them all Red Bull, and there was no zookeeper.
That sounds like a lot of broken dishes.
Dishes? I wish we had dishes.
The youngest kid generally plays the role of the funny one. It's kind of their job to break the tension and make people laugh. Was that you, or was it hard to stand out with that many funny people in one family?
I think we all had our chance at being the baby. So we all got a chance to play that role. I think we all at some point were one of mom's babies, so at some point we all got to be the clown. It's funny because in my childhood, as I was growing up, every class I would go to -- because we all went to the same junior high and elementary school -- whenever I would come to the first day of school they'd go, "Oh, no. Another Wayans? Oh God."
I remember you telling the story of the first time Eddie Murphy came to your house with your brother, Keenen, and you and Shawn started making fun of his pants. Even the biggest comedian in the world wasn't safe. Was that just the way you were raised? Everyone was fair game?
That's just the way we were raised. Snapping on people, that was our form of telling you we loved you or respected you. Kind of like how a little boy pulls a girls hair. We did that, but with jokes. But Eddie's pants did cost more than literally everything we had in our house.
Did you know that at the time?
No. And they were still ugly as hell.