Marlon Wayans is Back with “50 Shades of Black”
Written by Jamie Barnes
Actor and standup comedian Marlon Wayans returns to the spotlight this month, with a stop in Phoenix and a new film on the way. You may remember him from memorable moments on the big screen, with the Scary Movie sequels, or on T.V. shows like The Wayans Brothers, and In Living Color. We sat down with Marlon to discuss his newest film as well as his career thus far in an interview before his show at Stand Up Live.
AZI: We’ll jump right into your upcoming movie. Tell us how that concept was derived.
M: I think this one is different. It’s different for me. I think with this one I’ve made some mature choices, although it’s still silly and a little bit of crassy. I think having the responsibility of having a female audience on this one, you want to satisfy that sweet spots on both sides. So we made some choices and changed some things and it’s a really funny movie. We just wanted to make it more inclusive and less out there.
AZI: You’ve been in the business for over 20 years –
M: Don’t remind me (says jokingly)
AZI: (Laughter) from what I’m surprised to see, you’ve been doing stand up for 4-5 years? I know that you have family members who do stand-up as well, what made you decide to partake in this now rather than instinctually from the beginning?
M: I think my hesitation was a couple of things. One of the things was fear. I think when you grow up in the house with other comedians, it’s kind of intimidating. Because you all have pretty much have had the same experiences, so it’s kinda like, who tells the joke first? Two is, you don’t want to step on anyone else’s toes. I know Damon is such a great stand up, and that’s Shawn’s world and so I was always comfortable with being an actor; and I always wanted to be different. I love my brothers to death but, I’m different. And I chose to be different.
AZI: Indeed you are!
M: I went to a performing arts high school, and they [Damon and Shawn] supported it. I went to Howard University for film and theatre. I dreamed of academy awards one day. I know I do these crazy movies but I know my skill sets as an actor, and one day I’ll be able to do it all but I didn’t want to come out and be a stand up, because I didn’t want to go the same route as everyone. I wanted to be me. I wanted to be different. I got some flak for it like, “What are you doing?” and I was like, before I can become a Wayans, I want to be a Marlon. I’m my own visual, my own man with my own choices, and although I’ll eternally be a Wayans, I just want to be Marlon. Now I’m doing my own career and making my own choices. I started when it was right for me, not when they said it was time. I started when it felt right for me.
AZI: I went to your show last night.
M: Oh you did?
AZI: Yeah! I must say, you have a very raw sense of humor. You’ve mentioned that you’re very honest and that it’s very key for you. Not to put any sort of comparisons, but for greats like Richard Pryor, he’s stressed that similar type of concept on being very open about that.
M: It’s kind of hard to do in this day and age.
AZI: Very true. You’ve mentioned some topics like Bill Cosby, to different races (stereotypes), and what I noticed was that no one was offended. You have a very diverse crowd.
M: Learn to walk the line. There’s so many hot topics, and people are willing to listen to what you have to say. When you do stand up, and throw a concept out there and people go, “ Hm, ok, I’m listening, why do you think that way?” and you have to prove that theory through a course of human in jokes. In the end of it, even if [they] don’t agree with you, I see what you’re saying, and you didn’t take a hard stance nor are you protecting something that is wrong. I am very unbiased yet opinionated about what I talk about. I think as people, we’re all entitled to an opinion. I kind of like telling the truth about how things are and what I feel.
AZI: You’ve expressed in the past you don’t keep many close industry friends. You stay out of the media eye for the most part and don’t involve yourself in much drama. How do you keep a conscious sense of balance?
M: My brother raised us like Jedis. Keenan is Yoda and Damon is Obi-Wan. Damon can be so biting and so funny. The thing about him is, those that don’t agree, still laugh, it’s a guilty pleasure. Where Keenan is spot on. Keenan will not do a joke that is for a party of one. He wants everybody to laugh. So he taught us to do things with kid’s gloves, and so that’s what we try to do.
Go see Marlon Wayans starring in Fifty Shades Of Black, which premieres January 29.