Q&A with comedian Marlon Wayans: At The Orpheum Friday (Jan. 22)

Comedian Marlon Wayans is coming to The Orpheum Theater on Friday (Jan. 22) (Photo courtesy The Orpheum Theater)

By Doug MacCash, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Comedian Marlon Wayans is coming to The Orpheum Theater on Friday (Jan. 22) (Photo courtesy The Orpheum Theater)

Comedian Marlon Wayans is coming to The Orpheum Theater on Friday (Jan. 22), just a week before the debut of his new movie “Fifty Shades of Black,” a satire of the bondage-romance “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Wayans wrote, co-produced, and stars in the comedy.

One of the twists of Wayans’ “Shades of Grey” send up, is that his character Christian Black is a bit clumsy in the erotic arena.

In creating the persona, Wayans, 43, said he channeled memories of his own early romantic misadventures.

“I had all these things that I wanted to do,” he said. “I was very progressive in thought, but bad in execution.”

He described one attempt at wooing a young woman that became particularly heated.

“I was sitting there with this girl,” he said, “and I had lit some candles and I was trying to kiss her, and she goes, ‘Oh my god, I’m so hot.'”

The young Wayans imagined his advances were having the desired amorous affect.

“And then we continued to kiss,” he recalled, “and she said, ‘No, I’m really hot.’ So I looked, and the whole blanket was on fire.”

The blazing blanket memory didn’t make it into the “Fifty Shades of Black” script, but “there’s other stuff like that in the movie,” Wayans said.

Wayans was pleased to learn that the slapstick YouTube trailer for “Fifty Shades of Black” was approaching seven million views when we spoke.

“I hope that translates into people going to see the movie,” he said. “The best things about the trailers I have up is that none of the best jokes are in the trailers. The best jokes are in the movie. That excites me. As a movie- goer that excites me. I like the audience to see something different than what’s in the trailer. In this case there’s so much more to see.”

Wearing multiple hats during the filmmaking had its advantages, Wayans said.

“You do as much as you can you can to insure your vision,” he said. “I absolutely love making movies like this because, at the end of the day, you’re making solid choices and it’s your movie, it’s your brand. It’s not like you’re being diluted.  I get to put in what I choose to put in, what’s best for the movie.”

He also absolutely loves appearing live, recently making the leap from clubs to theaters like the Orpheum.

“I love hearing those laughs,” he said. “It makes me feel alive. It’s the best high in the world. No drug can match the natural adrenaline that God gives you in your body when you have a purpose.”

Considering the contentious presidential contest, racial friction and fear of terrorism, it’s a heavy time for comedians to get topical, but Wayans said it comes with the territory.

“If you’re fearful it makes it harder,” he said of addressing tough issues. “If you attack it, it makes it easier. I think that, as comedians, we have the license to say what we feel. We say the things the audience is too polite to say. For me, I love it. It’s a great position to be in.”

Wayans said he’s visited New Orleans five or six times in the course of his career. He highly recommends the buttermilk chicken at NOLA restaurant.


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