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With “Woke-ish” available on Netflix, and Marlon Wayans’ self-titled show due within the next two months, he has gone on a publicity tour. Here are some highlights.
Growing Up Wayans
With Kenan Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans leading the way with their standup and movie careers, Damon was able to get his foot in the door, but not necessarily a pass. When it came to working with Kenan, though willing to put his brothers on, like in I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, when he was 11 or 12, it wasn’t all fun and games. The way Kenan operated was for Marlon, and Shaun, who also got a part as an extra, it was about them learning. Him challenging them and while eventually, it bloomed into a family business, at first it seemed to just be about making it so Kenan and Damon weren’t the only ones helping the family eventually transcend project life.
But, if you dare ask Marlon, or any member of his family, in his mind, who is the funniest, you’ll always get his mom as the answer. For, when it comes to the brothers, it is hard to compare them. Kenan understands the science of comedy, Damon can find a joke in the darkness, Shawn is just underrated to him, and with Marlon’s physicality, they all bring something different which can’t be side by side compared.
The Effects of Performing Arts School & Dramatic Acting In The Future
When it comes to dramatic acting, one of the main reasons Marlon pursued this route was because he came from a family of comedians. So, naturally, especially in a big family, you want to stand out. Hence him going to performing arts high school, despite having comedy experience under his belt, and even pursuing it in college – so it seems. Yet, as noted in his comedy special, and when he interacted with Howard graduate Chadwick Boseman… he dropped out.
However, it should be noted that, during this period, he was booking a lot of roles and got offered some interesting ones. He mentions booking a movie called Fathers & Sons, which I am assuming is the Jeff Goldblum movie from 1992, he was up for a role in Juice, and got his role in brother Damon’s movie, Mo’Money because Kadeem Hardison, of A Different World, rejected the role and Claude Brooks, seemingly, as well.
As for future dramatic films? Well, he notes that, again with Damon, there is a potential Oscar winner in Behind the Smile, which was made back in 2006. But really, he hasn’t been looking for dramatic roles as of late. There was the Richard Pryor movie, which he makes seem practically dead at this point, but besides that, he wants to do comedies which have a sense of drama in having heart, but are not a straight drama.
For, in his mind, there is more of a challenge to do comedy than to do drama. Which he proves because, considering Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, and more showing their dramatic chops, but you seeing many a dramatic actor or “Serious Actor” struggle just to have banter on talk shows, which genre is truly harder to be in?
His Standup Career
It has been 7 years since Marlon started doing stand up and depending on the interview, it was either for Behind the Smile, where he plays a stand-up comedian or for the Richard Pryor biopic he began getting on stage. But, one of the reasons he has continued was because, while he still has the dramatic chops to help him stand out in his family, being that he has a natural gift for comedy, he is trying to figure out a way to carve out his own lane so that he has something in case his family, for whatever reason, decide to maintain their solo careers.
The Future of Marlon Wayans
Right now, Marlon is the main and key focus alongside taking his stand up to the next level and eventually booking theaters and stadiums. Alongside this, he noted he is open to reviving The Wayans Brothers tv show, including with John Witherspoon as part of the cast. Movie wise, he is in the process of writing an action comedy to the tune of 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop. There isn’t any sort of ETA for this, but after his work in GI JOE, he does seem inspired.
Also, while being interviewed on The Breakfast Club, after Charlagmagne The God brings up his family having a Defiant Ones style documentary, it seems Marlon is open to the idea. He even notes there is a lot of footage which could go into that.
Comments to Mo’Nique and Other Comedians
Naturally, with Marlon Wayans getting a Netflix comedy special comes the topic of Mo’Nique. Which leads to no real disparagement, but frank advice. It begins with just noting that Mo’Nique needs to talk to her community. Rather than ask the general public or Instagram, she should have talked to fellow comedians. If she wondered how Dave got $20 million, she should have asked him. Especially since Dave paid for the production of his own specials and that gave him more leverage in setting the price. Since, at that point, all Netflix was doing was paying for the finished product. The only thing coming out of their pocket was marketing and, as we have seen, Netflix primarily relies on word of mouth and their stars to market. They don’t, especially for comedy specials, spend huge globs of money on TV, billboards, and things like that. It’s all digital.
But, alongside that advice for Mo’Nique, and comedians in general, he brings up how Kenan and Damon pushed him to be better. How, as a community, when you recognize talent, shout it out in public and private, but also challenge them to do better (assumingly in private, not also public). For even if they don’t take the advice and challenge you as you’d like, if they understand the sense of community, like he and his brothers understand each other, what that person may give is a new route. One which may be bad, or maybe good, but still is invaluable information to be shared.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- Despite Paris Barclay being noted as the director for Don’t Be A Menace, because the tone he set with his background in dramas, largely you can credit the success of the comedy bits to Kenan who handled most of the reshoots.
- Speaking of Don’t Be a Menace, there were more than 19 drafts of the script, with 5 coming after they got studio financing. Something Kenan pushed for.
- Kevin Hart was up for the role Damon Wayans Jr. got in Dance Flick, but Damon was considered funnier.
- Marlon revealed in his special Woke-ish that his daughter is queer. In his interview on BUILD, he also reveals his niece is gay.
- Marlon has to audition 6 times for Requiem for a Dream. Just because the director wasn’t sure about him.
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
“If this is the greatest thing you do, I failed. What are you going to be after this? That’s going to make me feel I did something.”
— Marlon Wayans
“The art of writing is rewriting.”
— Marlon Wayans
“People go, ‘Oh, you’re not talented.’ Talent is not, ‘Oh, I’m naturally good at something.’ Talent is how hard are you willing to work, to get great at something and are you willing to fail, are you willing to not be good? Are you willing to stink?”
— Marlon Wayans
“I don’t wanna play a great, I wanna be a great.”
— Marlon Wayans