As a part of a family comedy dynasty, Marlon Wayans knows a lot about creating your own spotlight in the shadow of your famous family. The 39-year-old’s older brothers Keenen Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans are best known for the film I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and TV’s In Living Color and My Wife and Kids. Then Marlon and brother Shawn Wayans made a name for themselves with TV’s The Wayans Bros., plus the movies Don’t Be a Menace, the Scary Movie franchise and White Chicks.
Now, Marlon is helping to pass the funny torch to the next generation of performing Wayans — nephews Craig Wayans and Damien Dante Wayans — as executive producer of their new BET series Second Generations Wayans. A cross between Entourage and How to Make It in America, this scripted comedy takes a hilarious look at Craig and Damien’s journey to make their own foothold in Hollywood in the shadow of their famous uncles.
“What’s dope is it’s a progression of what we did and yet a departure at the same time. It will always have that Wayans flavor, that seasoning,” Marlon told BET.com. “We’ve done so much broad stuff, but this is a more grounded template. It’s gonna push as far as you can go, but this series has heart and it’s funny.”
Second Generation Wayans is a comedic look at what’s it like to follow in the footsteps of famous family members, but Marlon says he also gave his nephews sound advice about the experience. “It’s a gift and a curse. You own it and you don’t fight it against it. You have to just be you. I never tried to be Keenan, I never tried to be Damon, I never tried to be Shawn. I can’t be Kim [Wayans] — I don’t have t-----s,” jokes Marlon. “I just wanted to be Marlon and I tried to be the best Marlon I could be. Then I created my own shadow. It’s not a competition. One success is a success for us all. [You’ve got to] stand in your light.”
Marlon's much anticipated planned Richard Pryor biopic is currently on hold. “I don’t know what’s happening with the project," he says. "Hopefully the Richard Pryor thing will happen and come together.” But in his quest for preparing to portray the comedic icon, he discovered another career facet of himself — the stand-up comedian.
“Initially, I wanted to play a great and now I want to be a great. I’ve been doing a lot of stand-up [to prepare for the Pryor biopic] and I’m really beginning to understand the experience and journey of a comedian,” he says. “What it’s like to create material, stand in front of a stage and entertain people. I didn’t know that before because I really didn’t do stand-up. But now, I’m an actor, writer, producer and comedian. It’s a blessing and it feels good.”
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