Twelve minutes with Marlon Wayans (NBC’s ‘Marlon,’ Netflix’s ‘Naked’)

MARLON — Pilot — Pictured: (l-r) Essence Atkins as Ashley, Marlon Wayans as Marlon — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

This was posted on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Last year, Marlon Wayans had seen his parody movie “Fifty Shades of Black” stumble in the box office and made a career decision: no more parody movies. No more “Scary Movies.” No more “A Haunted House.”

But the man is multi-talented and not at all the type to wallow. He quickly jumped on board with his own sitcom and a comedic film that is not a parody. And both are coming out within a week of each other. Wayans, who also continues to do stand-up touring, came to Atlanta’s STK restaurant in Midtown earlier this week to promote his family comedy “Marlon” on NBC (August 16) and his new Netflix film “Naked” (August 11).

“It just happened,” Wayans said Monday. “It’s crazy. I drive down Sunset. There’s a ‘Marlon’ billboard near a ‘Naked’ billboard. For some reason, they’re right by my house. I think they do that on purpose!”

My interview with Wayans in 2016. 

“Marlon” is a traditional three-camera sitcom featuring Marlon as a YouTube star who is divorced from his wife, played be Essence Atkins. They have two kids. And the twist is they get along better not married than married. He said this reflects his real life with his children’s mom Angelica Zachary, although they never did get married.

“We don’t even call each other exes,” he said. “I still call her baby. She calls me baby.”

The other difference from real life, he said, is the boy in the show is more “rambunctious” than his real-life son. “You’re too cool for TV,” he said to his actual son. “You’d be boring as s***. You’d be cancelled!”

The show is very much a showcase for Wayans’ physical humor and he will riff as needed. “I’m a crazy man,” he said. “We write really funny stuff. I just challenge myself to try to top it every episode ever time we’re in front of that live audience.”

NBC gave him a summer slot, which not too long ago would have been considered a death sentence. Not so much anymore. “I was confused at first,” he said. “Then I realized the biggest summer show is ‘America’s Got Talent.’ They’re launching it behind their biggest show. They’re giving me the best shot to win. You look at it from that lens and you’re grateful.”

“Naked” on Netflix is basically a take off on “Groundhog Day” and “Edge of Tomorrow,” where he has to re-live the same moment over and over again until he gets it right. He’s an immature man who is about to get married but is in a bit of a “Hangover” predicament. And yes, he wakes up in an elevator naked over and over again so he spends a ridiculous amount of time in the buff.

“No guys are comfortable being naked except those old guys in the gym,” said Wayans, who is still a very youthful looking 45 years old. “When you get older, you get to 70, everything drifts down… I worked out as hard as I could for the time I had allotted. From there, I removed my ego. Let’s not worry about this. Let me play the character. Let me play the scene… All vanity goes out the window.”

He said Atlanta was the first place he ever got “mobbed,” like a Beatles movie. He was promoting “The Wayans Brothers” with his brother Shawn in 1995 for the WB Network at the Greenbriar Mall. “There were 500 girls chasing us,” he said. “I didn’t realize how strong women were. Atlanta women are strong!”

TV PREVIEW

“Marlon,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, August 16, 2017 after the first live “America’s Got Talent” results show, NBC

“Naked,” available at 3:01 a.m. Friday, August 11, 2017 for Netflix subscribers


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