Marlon Wayans hasn’t been completely off the radar. He has stayed active with parody films like the recent “Fifty Shades of Black,” plus he’s been on the stand-up comedy circuit. But August has been an especially big month for him. Both “Naked,” his Netflix film about an altar-shy guy stuck in his birthday suit in a “Groundhog Day” scenario on his wedding day, and “Marlon”, his NBC comedy, the first in nearly 20 years, about an immature father co-parenting with his ex-wife, premiered.
A couple of weeks before, the youngest active funnyman of the iconic Wayans comedy clan was all charm during an Atlanta press reception at STK’s private event space as he discussed his latest works. “It’s a great moment,” he said of this juncture in his career. “You work a lifetime for a moment like this. This is stuff you dream about: I have a movie and a TV show.” It’s all him, too, as he also produced and co-wrote “Naked” and serves as creator, co-writer and producer for “Marlon.”
“The Wayans are weird,” he explained. “We always like to do our own.” Doing his own doesn’t always mean being comfortable, however. His nudity in “Naked,” which stars Regina Hall (“Girls Trip“) as his character Rob’s bride, Megan, Scott Foley (Jake from “Scandal”) as her ex and Dennis Haysbert (“24”) as her disapproving father, was everything but, he admitted.
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“I don’t think any man ever feels comfortable being naked except for like the old guys in the YMCA gym for some reason,” he joked. “Because I think when you get older, when you’re like 70, everything drips, droops and you’re like, ‘I don’t care.’”
With “Marlon”, which reunites him with Essence Atkins, with whom he starred in both installments of “A Haunted House,” which made over $80 million combined at the box office, Wayans has been even more hands on than he was with “Naked.” “If I do a sitcom, I want it to be my show because I want to use the writer and the producer in me and be able to make the right choices and do lines I’m comfortable with doing and be the floor general and help out the cast and let them be comfortable, [too],” he explained.
And there’s an even better reason for him to be more protective. “I think you have to write what you know,” he said of the show. “It’s my family. It’s my life. It’s based on my life. I was never married, but we went through a break-up and we remain the best of friends.
“We don’t even call each other exes,” the father of two continued. “I still call her baby, she still calls me baby. I’ll always love that woman. I don’t think that just because you break up that you have to not talk and [have] animosity. We’re actually better friends now than we were when we were together.”
On the show, his Marlon and Atkins’ Ashley are friends as they co-parent their son Zackery and daughter Marley. While it may not be drama-filled, it certainly teems with outlandish behavior from Marlon, who is a YouTube celebrity of sorts and more kid-like than father material. Its zaniness is definitely a departure from the much darker tone of NBC’s now-canceled family sitcom “The Carmichael Show.”
“Their biggest show is “America’s Got Talent,” so they’re launching me behind their biggest show. They’re giving me the best shot to win,” he beamed.
“They believe enough in the show that they gave me this time slot.”
“Marlon” airs Wednesdays on NBC at 9 pm ET. “Naked” is streaming on Netflix now.