Marlon Wayans on the Moment: "I Just Fell in Love with the Art of Standup"

Categories: Interview

You tried it early on in your career, but it wasn't until you were supposed to play Richard Pryor in a movie that you really took to it. Why do you think you stuck with it the second time around?
I'm a performing arts high school kid. So I think that the actor in me is the thing that brought me to the stage. And I was doing standup for a purpose, to play one of the greatest comedians ever. So it was an artistic journey for me. I was going complete method. I don't know what happened with the Pryor role, but one day I just built up an act and I went to perform for the first time at a sold out show -- about 300 people -- and I got a standing ovation. My first show. And I was like, "Wow." I stepped outside of my body, and I just remember kind of seeing myself from the back with my hands raised in the air and the lights coming towards me and I could see the bodies in the crowd, and I was like, "Wow."

In that moment, it was like an out of body experience. I was like, "Man. I belong here." And ever since that day, I just fell in love with the art of standup. And I used standup to make me better in every other thing I was working on. Whether it be producing, writing, acting, it's just making me better. I'm loving it.

You and Shawn never go on stage at the same time, right?
We shared a bed for 16 years -- we are not sharing a stage. We are actually talking about doing an all Wayans tour with me Shawn, Keenen, and Damon, but right now it's me and Shawn. Sometimes Shawn and Keenen go out. But me and Shawn never go on stage together. Maybe at the end of the show, but rarely will you ever catch us on stage at the same time. I'd annoy the shit out of him. He would punch me in my chest on stage.

Can you tell me a little about the other projects you're working on? I heard a rumor about a second White Chicks.
I hope, man. That's one of the movies that all of our fans want us to do a sequel of. We're trying to make it happen, but we'll see. Hopefully it will. But coming out in theaters on April 18, I have A Haunted House 2, which is a sequel to Haunted House, a movie I did for 2.7 million independently that grossed over 65 million worldwide. So I'm looking forward to that. It's got a great cast: Jaime Pressly, Cedric the Entertainer, Affion Crockett, and Gabriel Iglesias. I also have a digital comedy network called whatthefunny.com that's launching this week. It's free content. We have an app for it, and it's got a lot of funny sketches, so please check it out.

Do you think black comics and urban comedy are underrepresented in the internet comedy world?
Well, in every medium, I think it's always going to lack some color. It's getting better, but the reality of it is a lot of the people that write the checks aren't of color. They don't get it. And I don't blame Hollywood, I don't blame venture capitalists, I don't blame TV studios. I never place blame. I always accept it, because that's what's going to make me grow. What I've got to do is figure out how to pitch it to them in a way that they can understand it, and that they can trust it. In Living Color is a show that would have probably never gotten on the air if Fox didn't take a chance. They don't understand how to tell a joke to that urban audience. We have a gift, and we've always had a gift. And it's just trying to convince the people who write the checks to buy into that. Over time they will.

I don't cry and say, "Oh, we're not represented!" If we're not represented, guess what, we have whatthefunny.com, and I'm going to make sure that we are represented. I'm going to make sure that we have a plethora of diverse talent. I don't want people coming up and saying, "Hey, where are the white people?" I want everybody to be represented. Because the jokes are urban, and there's just a certain flavor -- a certain temperature and sound wave that affects urban people. You know, it's a high note. And I know how to sing it. I've been doing this 20-something years, and hopefully with whatthefunny.com and my movies and television shows -- I hope that I service that audience, because I'm from that audience.

See Shawn and Marlon Wayans perform at the Fort Lauderdale Improv February 20 through 23. Tickets cost $35.00.

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