BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
Levity Live in West Nyack to host A-list comedy act
They’re the youngest of 10 siblings in the first family of 1990s American comedy. Shawn and Marlon Wayans will be in Rockland County performing a total of six shows at Levity Live May 3-6.
Shawn, 41, and Marlon, 39, have many ventures fans can identify them from, be it television, movies, as MC of award shows or in their current role as stand-up comedians.
They may, in fact, be the most popular Wayans family members at this time.
Rockland should be ready for the edgy, irreverent “Wayans brand of humor,” Shawn Wayans told the Rockland County Times.
The family which grew up in a poor neighborhood in New York City has produced a long line of stars, writers and supporting cast members, including Hollywood and TV star Damon Wayans, and movie producer and founder of the In Living Color television sketch comedy program Keenen Ivory Wayans, who is also partly responsible for launching Jim Carrey into superstardom, as he got his start on In Living Color.
“People [in America] started getting tight asses and getting oversensitive. There was a time when you could make fun of everybody. There was a time you could say whatever you want. Now you got groups protesting” when you say something they don’t like, Marlon said.
Marlon said he just was called out on his own twitter fanpage last week when he tagged Ron Artest with the nickname Ron Autistic for his tendency to go psycho. Five fans got all serious on him, complaining that they had relatives with autism.
“So what, I didn’t say it about them!” Marlon exclaimed over the telephone.
Marlon said he isn’t afraid to offend, but noted that the best comedians say things that are normally offensive but don’t come off as such. And that requires an inner-confidence and freedom.
“The only way to become great is to become free,” the younger Wayans waxed.
Marlon said he aims to find a Richard Pryor-like freedom with his act. “He was unapologetic. If he didn’t like something, he’d tell you,” he said.
Both brothers said they do not come prepared with a particular act, but will make their material fit the audience.
Shawn Wayans, who started stand-up at age 17 and considers it his first love, said, “I try to make my set for as many people as I can possibly make it work for. You determine it by audience response [and common sense].
“If it’s college, you can’t talk too much heavy life stuff, a lot of kids haven’t experienced that part of life. You have to talk about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.”
The times change but Shawn likes to maintain an inner-game that doesn’t overreact to the events of the day.
“I pretty much keep my set, mostly about me. I try not to base it on too many current events,” he said.
Growing up poor in a family of 10 siblings the Wayans used humor and creativity to keep the mood as light as possible. Some of those characters created in the 1970s and 80s have been used in their shows and movies throughout the years.
“We loved being funny,” Marlon said. “The circumstances we grew up with, wasn’t fun if we didn’t make it fun. We’d make the circumstances fun by making each other laugh.”
Marlon said he is glad to be performing shows with his brother. “It’s fun, because the road can be lonely sometimes. I got a partner in crime with me. We do our show amd hang out after.
Shawn and Marlon Wayans have made satire of race and black-white relations a staple of their comedy starting with their hilarious spoof of inner-city coming of age movies “Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.”
Marlon promises more of that during the current act.
Shawn and Marlon conceived and co-wrote the original Scary Movie and Scary Movie II, which are among the highest grossing comedies of all time, as well as the most watched spoofs.
They wash their hands of the current Scary Movie creations that get released every few years in Hollywood, however.
When they roll through Levity Live in West Nyack, first Shawn hits the stage for his set, then younger brother Marlon. Shows are Thur. at 8 p.m.; Friday at 8&10:30 p.m., Saturday at 7&9:30 p.m. & Sunday at 7 p.m. Check out Levity Live’s website for more information.
Levity also host Carlos Mencia this past week and will host Tom Green this weekend. It is located on the fourth floor of the Pyramid Mall.