If you’ve been reading along with our OC Weekly coverage of Marlon Wayans over the years, and you better have been, we’ve all learned so much about this incredibly talented dude. Possibly too much at times even. (Please see OCW interview circa 2012 when he told us “Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” reminds him of “finger popping.”)
Since he’s coming back to the OC (Irvine Improv May 31st- June 2nd to be exact), we tried to figure out what it is we didn’t know about him at this point. Oh right, his past. For that reason, we took him back in time to see how he’s transformed over the last 20 years. Fuck we’re old.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Who was your biggest musical influence at 20-years-old?
Marlon Wayans: When I was 20, my biggest musical influences were Michael Jackson, Prince, Redman, Method Man, Wu-Tang, Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane was still in my life right there, and the last ones would be Jay-Z and Nas.
Definitely still those guys, throw J. Cole in the mix, and put some talk radio in there. Now when I hear music I’m yelling, turn that crazy music down!
Same pretty much. It’s crazy how we swapped the music for talk. Ahhh growing up.
Yeah I mean, I can’t grab on to this new stuff! There is knowledge in the music that we used to listen to. You could hear about black history in a BBD song! They just do it the same nowadays. It’s the prescriptions meds. They just mumble their lines.
Mumble melodies. Copy write the genre. What about sports?
Then: To play, was softball or baseball. My favorite sport to watch was basketball and football.
Now: Now it’s the same thing except I watch my son play basketball. I’m still a football fan, just sometimes. It depends. I don’t like what it’s becoming. I don’t like when the athletes don’t have free reign to express themselves. People are trying to impact teams so they do certain things to bring awareness, especially about relevant and social issues in our community. Players should be allowed under the first amendment to express themselves. It’s freedom of speech. I don’t like what it’s become but, I do respect the fact that the league has given donations to several causes. It’s all part of the game though, it’s an expression of the art. Like when they took away celebrating, what kind of nonsense is that? They’re celebrating! When they get a touchdown, I want to see what kind of dance he will do!
Look at you all grown-up! I love it. And agreed, the touchdown dance was the best.
The dance was great but you only watch football for the buttocks anyway.
They do look smooth...
The black athlete. That’s how they look outside of the pants you know. [Laughs.] Like horses.
I see. Hmmm… *adds to my bucket list* Tell me about your bucket list.
Then: To have my own TV show. To star in movies. Quietly, do stand-up comedy and get good at it. Traveling and make a marriage and kids too.
Now: Well, I did all that so now I have to have a new bucket list. [Laughs.] Now it’s just to maintain peace and harmony with the loved ones in my life. I want to rip stages and express myself as an artist so I can get better and try to become the biggest movie and TV star in the world. Work my way into legend status. It’s all about trying to make history.
What was/is your favorite way to spend downtime?
Then: Loud music with my friends. Drinking, and playing some video games.
Yeah, that sounds about 20. How about now?
Now: Now it’s going somewhere quiet. I can’t just live at a party. I have to go somewhere quiet with see-through water, the sun that stays at the right location, and with great food. I love to eat at great restaurants. I live to eat at great restaurants. Also, to see my kids and have meaningful conversations with meaningful people.
Yeah, that sounds about 84. Kidding. Tell me about your approach to comedy at 20.
Then: At 20 it always physical and crazy. I was always trying to see how I could twist the envelope. I was very subversive in my humor. Nothing like a good ol’ fart joke back then. Sex jokes and things like that was always fun to me too.
Now: It’s the same thing except, a little less on the fart jokes. I still like sexual humor I just think it has to be phrased in a certain way. Before it was about the jokes and to me now, it’s about the conversation. I want them to laugh and enjoy the show but when they leave, I want them feeling and thinking as well. For me now, it’s about the story.
Now it’s all about watching what you say too as not to offend blah blah…
I don’t! [Laughs.] I don’t have to watch what I say. I buck the system! If people don’t like it, they can leave. My job as a comedian is to be truthful and talk about it. If the audience is sensitive when hearing a joke, they shouldn’t be in a comedy club.
I 100% agree but I’m also afraid for comedy. How do we move past this “everything is offensive” shit? It’s wild.
Some of the bravest souls are artists. The one thing we will always exercise is our freedom of speech. That goes for comedy, music, art…we’re at the frontier of creative expression.
I like the words that are coming out of your mouth. Give me some more words that you’ve taken and held since 1998.
Then: My brother Keenen has so many! Success is your best revenge. There is a light at the end of every tunnel, all you have to do is keep on digging. He’s always had some great piece of knowledge to give me. To this day, it motivates me. Something my dad told me 20 years ago too which is, hard work and dedication. It’s a simple formula. Preparation meets opportunity, equals success. So if you keep prepared, one day you will be prepared for the success that you’re going to have. And be as successful as you’re prepared to be. People ask why I’m on the road every weekend and I’m like, I just want to be better and keep getting better. I’m just getting started. I hope that when people look at my stuff back then it was funny in one way and when they look at it now, they see there is more of an evolved artist there.
What is some advice you’d give your 20 year-old self? Do stand-up earlier and never stop. I think the good thing about me stopping is now at 45, when I’m doing stand-up, all of my friends and peers are tired of it. And me? I have so much energy. I just love it. I love every aspect of it. So I would tell myself to do more stand-up.
Alright last up. How would you promote this weekend’s show in Irvine at 20-years-old?
Come laugh your asses off. Crazy stuff and I’m gonna make you laugh until your stomach hurts and you lay a weird fart. You’ll laugh so hard it’ll make your breath stink. Something along those lines…
Got it. And now?
If you want a good time and to laugh until your face hurts, come out. My show won’t change your life but I hope it changes your mood. And you know, come on out with your ladies. Fellas, you don’t have to do much work because I’m the foreplay. Take it allllll in.
Grab your tickets now to see Marlon Wayans at the Irvine Improv May 31st– June 2nd, 31 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more on Marlon, become a fan on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @MarlonWayans. His NBC sitcom “Marlon” premieres on June 14th, you can check out his special “Woke-ish” on now Netflix, and please do head over to Amazon and treat yourself to the best movie ever created, “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking your Juice in the Hood.”
Ali Lerman knows much about comedy, basketball, and celebrating Wu-Tang Wednesday. She’s been writing for sixteen years and still calls her mom with grammatical questions.