Wayans Bros: Hollywood’s Dynasty of Comedy
The Wayans Brothers have been around for decades, and as their family continues to grow so does their hold on the television and film industry. The list of movies that the members of this family has written, directed and starred in, can literally go on and on. From television, to films, as well as other ventures, this family has their hands in it all.
One generation may have grown up watching their Emmy-winning hit TV show “In Living Color,” while another may be more familiar with their other hit TV show “The Wayans Brothers,” and possibly an even younger generation may have grown up watching yet another hit TV show “My Wife and Kids” or they may have seen their enormous box-office hits “White Chicks” and “Scary Movie.”
Needless to say, this family has been around for a while and their reign as the dynasty of comedy is endless.
The first generation of Wayans consists of 10 children, five girls and five boys: Dwayne, Keenen Ivory, Damon, Kim, Shawn, Markeelon, Nadia, Elvira, Diedre and Devon.
The second generation, however, consists of “at least 33½, about 35, 36, 37—we’re like McDonalds’s, we’re gonna take over the population of America,” the brothers joked in an interview with Newsweek.
The family of 12 grew up in the New York City, NY area in a 4 bedroom apartment with each of their parents, Elvira and Howell Wayans, sleeping in separate rooms, but for a good reason.
“We grew up in an apartment that had 4 bedrooms,” Keenen explained to Newsweek. “But my parents got tired of sleeping in the same bed because they felt like ‘We’re gonna have more kids so let’s stop this’ so this was like their birth control. My dad slept in one room, my mom slept in another and the boys would sleep in one room and the girls would sleep in the other room.”
They family’s rise to fame began when Comedian/Writer/Producer Keenen Ivory wrote a script for Comedian Eddie Murphy’s show “Eddie Murphy: Raw” which got him in the door to create and produce the FOX mega-hit, “In Living Color.” The show not only allowed Keenen to make the Wayans a household name, it also put comedians like Jamie Foxx and Jim Carrey on the map as well. Let’s not forget about a young Jennifer Lopez as one of the “Fly Girls” dancing in the background of the show as well.
From there, Shawn and Marlon branched off to star in “The Wayans Brothers.” In the meantime, their sister Kim starred in the sitcom “In The House” with Rapper/Actor LL Cool J, and Damon to star in “My Wife and Kids.”
Now, the second generation of Wayans are getting into the family business as well. Damien Dante Wayans — nephew of Keenen Ivory and Craig and Damon Jr., co-starred in the film “Dance Flick,” which Damien also directed. “Dance Flick” was released in 2009 and paid homage to the “Scary Movie” series by making fun of the numerous dance films that come out over the years like: “Save The Last Dance,” “Hairspray,” and “Step Up.”
Together they have also formed their own film and TV production company called Second Generation Entertainment, where they plan on producing and developing shows and films for a young-adult audience.
Although the Wayans family is known for entertaining audiences with their hilarious parodies and outrageous characters on film and television, Marlon explained to Newsweek that they are not stopping at just TV and film.
“Spoofing and parodies is what we do. It’s our take on the world; it’s all stuff that would be funny to us and we always wait for the proper time to do it like with Dance Flick and Scary Movie. And now we’re doing it with books too. We have a books series coming out called “101 Ways to know…” like “101 ways to know you’re a Goldigger,” “101 Ways to know it’s time to get the hell out ya Mama’s House,” and “101 Ways to know to your having a Ghetto Christmas,” he said.
Kim Wayans recently starred in the dramatic film “Pariah” which was released last December. Even though she says movie roles for Black women are limited in the movie industry, she’s taken her own path to stay proactive.
“Instead of sitting around moaning and groaning about what’s not available, she explained in an interview with AllHipHip.com. “I try to create the stuff that I want to do and then find a way of expressing that. I wrote a one-woman show called: “A Handsome Woman Retreats”. That was very successful, and I continue to do it. I’ve written children’s books. I have six children’s books on the market. I have several screenplays and different things that I’ve written.”
Marlon is also preparing to star in the upcoming bio-pic for famous comedian Richard Pryor and he told Phoenix New Time.com that there is definitely some pressure that comes along with playing this role.
“The pressure’s in the work,” he said. “If you’re willing to do the work, you can do anything. For me, it’s all about preparation. I’ve been preparing first and foremost by getting my ass on tour and learning to be a stand up, learning the journey, learning the skill set. How to craft a joke or how to put together a set. It’s probably the most method [acting] I’ve ever done in my life. I love stand up so much, I someday hope to be one of the greats.”
And for the “White Chicks” fans hoping for a sequel, don’t give up hope just yet, the Wayans haven’t forgotten about us. Last year the brothers told Phoenix New Time.com, “White Chicks 2 is chilling right now. It didn’t get cancelled, it’s just on the backburner right now. We’ve been working on a couple of movies and television projects we’re developing.”
One of those projects Shawn, Keenen Ivory and Marlon are currently developing is an animated television series on TBS called, “The Black Family.” The series would be centered on a blended interracial family, ‘The Blacks’, according to BlackTalentNews.com.
For the “In Living Color” die-hards, it was also announced that FOX will be bringing the series back with Keenen Ivory as the host and executive producer. The series will be returning this Spring in the form of two half-hour specials to air. FOX said that the specials will bring “a modern-day take on the hit sketch comedy show that will feature a new cast of fresh, young talent, as well as musical performances by special guests,” according to TheWrap.com.
With all of their ongoing projects, it’s safe to say the reign of the Wayan’s dynasty will be everlasting.