Dubious duo show conviction for lowball comedy
Whether you think they are asinine masters of satire or a bit of both the Wayans brothers specifically the two youngest of the brood of 10 Shawn and Marlon are undeniably a loud and pervasive voice in comedy.
That voice is usually one of general ridiculousness and immaturity but it is loud and pervasive nonetheless.
The BFF brothers are best known as writers and stars of the inexplicably successful Scary Movie franchise and cast members of the ground-breaking sketch comedy show In Living Color . These days they are touring the comedy club circuit performing standup.
I’m supposed to interview both halves of the comedic duo over conference call but after Shawn and I exchange awkward pleasantries over the phone I ask if Marlon will be joining us.
“They can’t find him” Shawn admits.
Sounds legit. I get started asking “So what can we expect in Calgary?”
“A crazy Canadian Calgary standup extravaganza” he answers. The line goes quiet. You know when you say something really lame and you know it? I think Shawn just had that moment.
He rephrases: “Just you know a fun energetic physical kind of in-your-face show.”
While standup may not be what springs to mind when one thinks of the Wayans it is where Shawn found his comedic footing back in 1987 and he still relishes the kind of energy that only it can provide.
“I love it. I gotta be honest there is a certain high that you get from doing standup — you get that energy from the audience” he says. “That’s that special thing you don’t really get from movies…. You can get it from television if you’re doing it in front of a live audience but standup is like its purest rawest form.”
According to Shawn’s reckoning his comedy is “Out there in-your-face honest — that’s what the art form is about. The art form is there for you to speak the truth.”
I mentally apply the sentiment to a sampling of his work. Evidently Shawn’s truth is dressing up in white face for a thinly veiled Paris Hilton impersonation ( White Chicks ) or acting as the adoptive father to a diminutive criminal pretending to be a baby — played by his brother whose head has been digitally placed on a child’s body ( LittleMan ).
I’ll assume the former is a spirited comment on race relations and stereotyping. The latter is some kind of Freudian loop de loop that may need further review. I’m intrigued by this man’s psyche.
“Is there any project you might look back on and admit isn’t so funny?” I ask. This is it. This is his chance to come clean. I’m willing to give him a pass on Don’t be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood and White Chicks too but come on… Dance Flick ? Scary Movie 4 ?
“Nope” he deadpans. “I love everything I did.”
I’m taken aback but impressed with his confidence. I capitulate and move on. I may never get the answers I want but I have to respect a man with conviction. Our talk draws to a close but Shawn has given me a lot to think about.
I start to say my goodbyes but he interrupts — “That’s it? That’s all? Nothing else?”
I flounder. “Uh is there something else you’d like to talk about?”
“Nah I’m just fucking with you” he says.