He’s played an heiress, a doctor, an FBI agent and is part of one of the most prolific comedic families in recent history. Joined by his siblings Shawn, Keenan, Damon, Dwyane and Nadia, Marlon Wayans brought a specific style of urban comedy to the mainstream with seamless effort. In 1995, he teamed up with his brother Shawn to star in the half-hour comedy series “The Wayans Bros.” They will team up again, when they return to perform a series of stand-up shows in South Florida at the Fort Lauderdale Improv.
Having performed there several times, the funny man said he’s excited about the show. “I never have a bad crowd in Fort Lauderdale. They just love to laugh, and we love making them laugh.”
While that might seem like a daunting task for some, the New York City native takes it all in stride. When asked how he prepares for a show, Marlon joked, “Sweat it out on stage.” He added, “Florida has a really smart crowd, and they kind of like to see you play. For me, when I go to Florida, it’s just go and have fun. The reality is, if I’m having fun, the crowd is having fun.”
When he’s not having fun on stage, the charismatic actor said he also likes to enjoy the surrounding area. “You know, I always venture out and find something to do. I like going to the casino. It’s fun until you lost your money you just made.”
He added with a laugh, “That’s never fun.”
Perhaps one of the least fun aspects of stand-up is bombing on stage. Marlon, however, said he doesn’t worry about that. “You know, I don’t pay it no mind. If I thought about what the reaction was while they’re reacting, then I’m not having fun,” he said. “If you play in that moment, it’ll be funny or you’ll find it funny right after that silence like ‘Oh, I went too far,’ and I think they respect that. They like when you call yourself out.”
The humble star is not only funny on stage, but also in movies. Marlon has starred in several projects with his brother, Shawn, including “White Chicks,” “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” and the first two “Scary Movie” films. On working with his brother, he said, “I think we have more of a shorthand with each other, working with each other. I think he’s a little bit less rigid than he used to be in some cases with me. I think when I first started doing stand-up, he was being very protective. Now he kind of sees that I got my own flavor, my own style; it kind of works for me. He’ll always give me notes no matter what.”
He added, “What I think we’ve learned to do is be individuals. We’re at that point where we do stand-up shows together, but we’re also doing our own individual journeys, artistically. We’ll come back together and do a lot of stuff together, but I think the time for us to do our own individual thing is a good thing because we both grow. Next time we come together to do a movie, it’s going to be crazy because we’ve both grown so much.”
That growth includes creating WhatTheFunny.com, a website showcasing urban comedy skits, with Funny or Die co-founder Randy Adams. He also wrote and starred in “A Haunted House,” which has grossed nearly $60 million worldwide. The sequel, “A Haunted House 2,” is set for wide release on April 18.
“I think this one, it’s a bigger, broader world,” he said. “I have a Caucasian girlfriend now, and two Caucasian kids, and it’s me dealing with white people dealing with a ghost. And the Latino next door is played by Gabriel Iglesias. Our chemistry is really fun, and you get to explore the dynamics between Blacks and Latinos that we’ve been doing for years. It’s a good urban, multicultural film.”
While that movie prepares for release, fans can see Marlon and Shawn reunite on stage at the Fort Lauderdale Improv at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Feb. 21 to 23. For more information, visit ftl.improv.com.