By Matt Kelemen
Shawn and Marlon Wayans could make comedy movies parodying Hollywood genres for the rest of their careers, but by getting out on the road and doing stand-up they are part of a time-honored entertainment tradition dating back to another first family of comedy. When the Marx Brothers felt their work on the silver screen was growing stale, they took sketches from forthcoming movies on the road and performed skits before audiences to see what worked and what didn’t. The results were Groucho Marx’s favorite movies, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races.
Whether the Wayans Brothers come up with one-liners that will appear in the successors to Scary Movie and Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood remains to be seen. They are surely shooting higher than 2004’s White Chicks though, which came long after much of the Wayans family wowed the world with their long-running sketch-comedy television series In Living Color. Shawn and Marlon, meanwhile, have been testing themselves before audiences as far away as Australia. With Marlon still pursuing a goal of portraying Richard Pryor in a biopic, the stand-up performances could be as much of a highlight of their careers as a chance to hone their humor.