In history, there are people who have expectations put on them and they shy away from the pressure. Others take that pressure and create a legacy. Marlon Wayans comes from the greatest family in comedy history. His brother Keenen created some of the best comedy in film and television. His brother Damon is considered one of the greatest stand-ups of all time, and his sister Kim is a seasoned comedian in her own right. With high standards already set on him, Marlon was able to carve out his own path within his family’s history. Early on we’d see him star alongside his brother Shawn in projects like “Don’t Be A Menace” and their own sitcom, “The Wayans Bros.” He was also able to stand on his own in projects like “Above The Rim,” “Senseless,” “The Sixth Man,” and “Requiem For A Dream.” His career went into overdrive when he began to do stand-up comedy in the mid-2000s. It wasn’t until he prepared to audition for a biopic on the life of Richard Pryor, that he found his own love of doing stand-up. Since then, he’s gone on to produce, write, and star in his own films. He also created his own sitcom loosely based on his life. He’s now currently on the road doing shows and we were able to speak with him. Below you’ll find an excerpt from my interview with Marlon Wayans.
With such a high profile family, I’m sure it was hard to stand out at one point in time. What are some of the things you’re better at than your siblings and what would you say they excel at better than you?
We all have our gifts. I’d say mine is optimal freedom. I fully commit to whatever I do without fear of failing. I think it’s my gift as well as my curse. My brothers take their time and weigh out all the outcomes. I see something and just go for it. I don’t necessarily plan. Because they’re older and more seasoned, they tend to plot things out better.
We just interviewed your brother Keenen. How would you best describe his contribution to your career?
He’s the reason I’m a writer, along with my sister Kim. Without even knowing, they taught me so much. Reading Kim’s thesis from college and Keenen’s script for “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” really inspired me early on. I remember reading it at nine years old and just cracking up and thinking I couldn’t believe my brother wrote it. Keenen raised us like comedy Jedi’s and taught us that we could do whatever we put our mind to, as long as we do the work.
You just celebrated 24 years of “The Wayans Bros.,” congrats on that, by the way.
Damn you’re nosey. (Laughs)
It’s what I do, but what were some of the hardships of you guys went through with the show? You didn’t get a final episode and I’d say WB was kind of built off of your backs.
We were the flagship show at one point, but we never got a fair shake. Nobody was excited about two early 20’s black kids creating their own television show. Critics came at us like we were seasoned vets. Damon & Keenen had 20 years to develop. Shawn & I came straight out of college and went to work, so people over time saw our maturity and development. I’m 46 years old now and my best years are happening now, but without the trial and error of the first years, I don’t think we could’ve sustained. It’s all a stepping-stone and we learned a lot. I mean I didn’t get a final episode of “Marlon” either. Sometimes networks don’t believe in your show the way you believe in it. All you can do is your best and have as much fun as you can. The success of a project lies in how much fun you had doing it and I’ve had fun on every set I’ve been on, and that’s a blessing.
See the full interview in COSIGN Magazine Issue XXV, dropping Q1 2019.
Actor/comedian Marlon Wayans will be performing at the Houston Improv Thursday Jan. 31 – Saturday Feb. 2. Marlon just finished filming the Netflix movie “Sextuplets” which tells the story of Alan (Wayans), a man embarking on a personal journey to meet his birth mother before the arrival of his first child. When Alan meets his brother, Russell, he discovers that he was born a sextuplet and decides to seek out his four other siblings (all played by Wayans). Together, the two brothers set out on a road trip to track down the rest of the family that they’ve never known. The film is scheduled to premiere on Netflix this July.