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Marlon Wayans visits Emerson students

Comedian Marlon Wayans visited Emerson on March 23 to talk with students about his career and how to get ahead in the film industry.

Students got free passes after the discussion for a sneak preview to Wayans’ new film, A Haunted House 2, at the Regal Fenway theater ahead of its April 18 opening.

Emerson’s Beard Room was packed with students wanting to know what drew Wayans to the comedy genre.

“Comedy is something that I wanted to do because it’s harder to me,” said Wayans, who appeared on In Living Color, The Wayans Brothers and the first two Scary Movie films.

Marlon Wayans

Actor/comedian Marlon Wayans stopped by Emerson on March 23, shortly before a sneak preview of his new movie, A Haunted House 2. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

“In comedy you’ve got to be vulnerable, you’ve got to be funny, you’ve got to be silly; you have to perform,” he said. “You’ve got to take dark things and find light in them, so I like comedy. I just love putting smiles on peoples’ faces.”

Wayans is better known for his comedic roles than dramatic ones—he was in the somber film Requiem for a Dream—and said comedy continues to remain important to him.

He hopes to contribute to the comedy genre by striving for more variety, instead of basing movies on race, he said. A Haunted House 2 features him in an interracial marriage surrounded by supporting characters of various ethnicities. 

“I would like to see all races in movies,” he said. “The best jokes are colorless. The goal is to make everyone laugh.”

Wayans, Marlon

Marlon Wayans at Emerson's Charles Beard Room on March 23. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

Wayans has worked closely with his family in the movie industry, and has starred alongside his older brother, Shawn, in various films, including White Chicks. When asked about working alongside his family, Wayans said his mother’s laugh made him want to pursue comedy and all his brothers are his comedic heroes.

“We all have the same recipe for comedy. I just have a different flavor,” he said.

He described writing his own scripts at the age of 18, even though he didn’t want to, for In Living Color, which was created by his older brothers, Keenen and Damon.

“We’d sit in [my brother] Shawn’s house and we’d write until 4:30 in the morning, having to be up for a table read at 8 o’clock, and repeat that same thing for the whole season, until we came up with 17 drafts of Scary Movie,” he said. “It’s a grind, but I realized if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be here today. ”

Wayans insisted that success isn’t all about luck. He urged students to understand that the best talent they can have is the willingness to put in an extra effort if they want success. “Hard work is the greatest talent you can have,” he said.

The event was sponsored by Emerson Mane Events was free to Emerson students.

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