By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Marlon Wayans is finished with parody movies.
He has made a pretty penny with parodies over the years in the vein of the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” movies. His five “Scary Movie” films brought in a whopping collective $461 million while “Dance Flick” ($25 million) and “A Haunted House” and its sequel (totaling $57 million) were also hits.
But his latest parody “Fifty Shades of Black,” which came out January 29 and obviously mocks “Fifty Shades of Grey,” has stumbled out of the gate with just $11.4 million in grosses to date. (His interview with my colleague Jenn Brett last month about the film.)
“It’s closing a chapter,” said Wayans, who is coming to Atlanta for a stand-up show at the Georgia World Congress Center’s Sidney Marcus auditorium (capacity 1,725). (Tickets can be had here) “I’m done. I don’t think the audience understands or appreciates this type of parody anymore On the Internet, it’s parody all the time, a certain type of parody. People can just go on YouTube. For me, I just got to go to other things. Parody is the hardest genre to work.”
And while “Fifty Shades of Black” could be perceived as a failure, Wayans is not the type of person to wallow in regret.
“I don’t believe in failures,” he said. “I believe in working and doing the best I can with what I have over time.”
Wayans in the meantime has been working aggressively to build his stand-up routine. “A lot of people don’t know me as a stand-up comedian yet,” he said. “I’m looking forward being me as an individual that’s come from being on stage. It’s great. This is like a whole new career for me. It takes me to a whole new place. I’m determined to do something great.”
For those who went to his shows at the Atlanta Improv a year ago, he promises the material will be 85 percent different. “I always change out the playlist or I get bored,” he said. The length of the show will depend on how he reads the crowd. He usually does 50 minutes to 90 minutes. But he said a few times, he has gone as long as three and a half hours Bruce Springsteen style. “When I feel that good, I go all out,” he said.
He’s been busy on TV. He hosted a TBS comedy competition show “Funniest Wins” in 2014 and last year’s NBC celebrity competition show “I Can Do That.” He’s now working on a comedy pilot for NBC called “Marlon,” which is loosely based on his life.
The comedy focuses on co parenting with his ex wife (though it’s not clear if has ever been married in real life.) The sitcom just picked up Essence Atkins as his ex wife. She also played his love interest on “A Haunted House.” “You’ve got to have chemistry and we have chemistry,” she said. “I just enjoy her company. We laugh a lot.”
Plus, he noted, “not everyone can work with me. I like to improvise. I need someone like Essence. I’m like the glass and she’s the water. She will conform to whatever shape I am. She flows with me.”
He said he will be taping the pilot in three weeks and is getting into fighting shape. “I start working out, getting in the gym,” Wayans said. “Keep my body in shape and my spirit follows.”
Wayans, who was part of the critically acclaimed 2000 film “Requiem For a Dream,” said he was impressed by Chris Rock’s hosting of the Academy Awards Sunday.
“I thought he did a good job. He was an equal opportunity offender. This is what he needed to do. He got some people mad. He hit Jada [Pinkett Smith for boycotting the Oscars.]. Look, you got to get a little bit of everybody. You can’t finger point. You point them at everybody. I thought it was funny. He could have pushed further but this isn’t HBO.”
He also chuckled when I told him comic Katt Williams was arrested in Gainseville after assaulting a pool store employee. “If he wasn’t arrested, I’d be shocked. I wake up in the morning, I wonder what trouble Katt’s in now. His goal is to see every prison in the United States, every last one. I’ve known Katt for years. I wish him nothing but love. You never know what Katt will get into. Katt has nine lives. He’s gone through eight of them but he isn’t going anywhere!”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12
Georgia World Congress Center
Sidney Marcus Auditorium
285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta