Shawn Wayans Discusses His Family With The Orlando Times
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Shawn Wayans made his acting debut in his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans’ feature film “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” in 1989. Immediately following, Shawn joined the cast of the Emmy Award winning comedy series, “In Living Color.”
Shawn has starred in the box office hits, “Little Man,” and “White Chicks,” both of which he co-wrote and co-executive produced. As well as “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood,” which he co-wrote and executive produced.
Shawn and Marlon created and starred in “The Wayans Bros.” sitcom and along with their brothers and sisters created the animated specials for Nickelodeon, “Thugaboo” and “Boo Crew”.
When not on the road performing standup, Shawn can be found hard at work in the “lab” where he and his brothers are busy concocting their next project.
Q: What made you switch from being a DJ on In Living Color to being in skits and movies?
A: That’s what I always wanted to do. I always had the burn in me to do stand-up and comedy.
Q: What do you like to do more, stand-up or skits/movies?
A: Stand-up is more of an immediate response from the audience so you get a little high. Not that I don’t get a high from making film or TV but I have to wait until that project is finished and it usually takes a long time. So, they are all really gratifying when they turn out well and when they don’t it’s not as fun.
Q: How is the experience working with your siblings?
A: It’s fun, we all grew up in the same house so we have natural chemistry with each other, it’s a good time when we get together and make something.
Q: Who is the funniest? Why?
A: My mother. We get our humor from her because she is very sharp, funny, and edgy.
Q: Do you all ever sit together and joke around?
A: Sometimes. When we get together for graduations, birthdays, and holidays we definitely do that.
Q: Do you have any group or solo projects you are working on right now?
A: Yeah, working on a couple of things. But until it’s done it’s always better to wait before talking about it.
Q: Let’s talk about your show that is coming to Orlando, what are some of the expectations that people can have?
A: They are going to come and laugh and have a good time. They are going to get an honest, physical, and funny show.
Q: What was it like for you to make your own place amongst such an established comedic family?
A: Watching the type of career that Keenen and Damon established for themselves, I knew that if I wanted to jump into that game I would have to take it very seriously. I knew I had to work really hard and that is what I did and that is what I do.
Q: How is your family? Do you enjoy joking around with your kids?
A: Everybody is good. We sit around and laugh all day, my kids are really funny. Now I am the joke to them, if you can believe that.
Q: What is the best part of being a father?
A: Watching something that knew nothing when it came it came into this world, and knowing that the stuff that they know now you put in them. That you equipped them to deal with what’s ahead in life.
Q: What are some of the best lessons you have learned by being a father?
A: Patience and understanding. It makes you gentle with your kids, you always want them to be okay.
Q: How do you keep them grounded?
A: I beat them…Just kidding, actually, the beauty is that they just listen to me. Sometimes my oldest daughter and I have conversations about certain situations, and she might not particularly like it at the time but then she understands. Sometimes she will talk her way into getting what she wanted by making a very rational point. We barely ever bump heads.
Q: How do you keep your children from feeling privileged?
A: I make them work. They like it, my daughter had a job at 15 years old. I always let them know that they will always have everything they need but I’m not spoiling them. This ain’t The Brady Bunch.
Q: Is working hard something that your parents instilled in you as well?
A: Yeah! I had to get up when I was 5 years old every morning to get coffee for my dad and mom at the store. First, I started by myself and then I started bringing my brother Marlon because I was training him to do it, so we started splitting the chore. I went to that store at 5 o’clock in the morning until I graduated high school.
Q: Did you ever play Mike Tyson’s Punch Out?
A: Sure did. Bringing that up, that game used to feed me. There was this laundry mat where the woman was nice enough to put a contest up for the kids, where if you beat the high score she would give you $5. As a kid from the projects, you know I stood up all night to make sure I kept that high score up. It was easy street for a while until this kid, Joe Russo, started coming in and beating my high score. So, Marlon and I used to get mad because that was the money we would split. So, I started timing it and waiting until the store was about to close and then I’d put the high score.
Q: We are very happy that we could speak with you today. As a family-owned business we tried to focus on your family. So, is there any non-for profit or activity that you wanted to talk about that we didn’t ask you about?
A: Thank-you very much. It’s nice to see another family business doing well. We really enjoy what we do and our parents really shaped us into the people we are today and as our parents got older our brothers and sisters really stepped in and helped us come up the right way since Marlon and I have always been the babies. As for the non-profits my brothers and sisters and I work with the Hudson Guild sometimes, it’s the daycare center from when we were kids.
Q: Is there anything else you wanted to add?
A: Everything was great, the questions were good. I think we touched on everything I wanted to talk about.
Shawn will be performing his stand-up routine June 30th-July 1st at The Improv in Orlando. Visit www.theimprovorlando.com for more details.