Shawn and Marlon Wayans’ movies might not receive widespread critical acclaim, but their global popularity is undeniable.
The brothers, along with eight other siblings, are members of the influential “First Family of Comedy”.
Each sibling has carved out a career in the entertainment industry.
The third oldest, Damon, rose to international fame in major vehicles such as The Last Boy Scout, The Great White Hype, Major Payne, Bulletproof and Mo’ Money.
Marlon (above left) says that being in the Wayans family is a source of healthy competition.
“It’s not competition in the negative sense, but we always try and top a joke,” the writer, actor and comedian says.
“Whoever is funnier is funnier – but I never go out on stage and say, ‘You wait and see how much funnier than Shawn I am!’
“I get mad when people try to tell me I’m funnier than my brother – I hate that.”
Shawn and Marlon are now heading to Australia for a stand-up comedy tour.
The pair have an impressive creative partnership.
Their cult 1996 movie Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, which they co-wrote and starred in, was made for a meager $US3.8 million and grossed over $US20 million.
The duo also had their own sitcom called The Wayans Bros.
But the Shawn and Marlon’s major breakthrough was 2000’s horror spoof Scary Movie.
It was made on a $US17million budget and drew more than $US278 million in ticket sales.
Their other films White Chicks and Little Man grossed $US113m and $US101m respectively.
Marlon looks forward to making his Australian fans laugh again – this time on stage.
“I’ve never been [to Australia] to do stand-up, so I’m excited,” Marlon says.
“People love us out there.
“The last couple of movies we’ve done have done really well in Australia.
“Australians really like to laugh, other cultures not as much.
“But Australians – you guys like to party.
“You guys have got a nasty sense of humour and I like that.”
Even though Shawn and Marlon’s stand-up tour is a package deal, don’t expect to see the brothers sharing the spotlight.
They perform separately.
“We’re never on stage together,” Marlon confirms.
“We shared a bed for 16 years, we’re not gonna share a stage.”
Marlon is happy to be the curtain-raiser and allow Shawn to headline.
“I go on [stage] first – he’s older, I don’t wanna get punched in my chest so I let him go on last,” he says.
Although they are frequent collaborators, Marlon says their approach to stand-up is different.
“[Shawn’s] a little bit more structured and he’s more of a technician,” Marlon says.
“I’m more like ‘I don’t really give a hell, I just wanna go have some fun’.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do from show to show.
“Sometimes I’m just in the mood to do something different – I’ll do a character out of nowhere and then stay in [character] and have fun – to see if I get some laughs.
“There’s a method to my madness, I guess, but because I’m newer – I’ve only been doing it two-and-a-half years – I go out there [on stage] to have some fun.”
While Marlon has a basic idea of his subject matter, he is not afraid to improvise.
“I know what I’m going to do, but then I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Marlon explains.
“I know I’ll want to talk about a certain thing, but I don’t know where I’m going to take it sometimes.
“I don’t mind hearing the silence if it don’t work or getting a groan if I went too far.
“I like the audience’s reactions.”
Despite their close working relationship, and that they were born a year apart, Marlon says he is no more close to Shawn than any of his siblings.
“I’m close to everybody, that’s the amazing part,” Marlon says.
“There’s just one big bunch of love.
“But I think because Shawn and me shared a bed for 16 years, it kinda gets you really close.”
Marlon consistently has a number of projects in the works.
The next film that Australians can see him in is A Haunted House.
The movie pokes fun at the “found footage” genre that was sparked by the success of Paranormal Activity.
He can also be seen alongside Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat.
“I’m an Energizer bunny, I love to work– I do get a little off-put when I’m not working,” Marlon says.
“I love creating – I’m already working on a sequel for A Haunted House.”
The non-stop zaniness of his comedies suggests that working atmosphere is one big party, but Marlon confirms that there is a lot of hard work involved.
“It always feels like work, but if you love your job then it never feels like work,” Marlon says.
The comedian says that A Haunted House is more plot-driven than his films Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2.
“A Haunted House is kind of different because it’s really not a spoof,” Marlon explains.
“It’s more a horror comedy with parody moments.
“I was not looking to just spoof, I was looking for its own story – its own characters and its own situations.”
The 10 members of the Wayans family have created a formidable new generation of 21 children.
Of this new crop Marlon is the father of two sons, Shawn and Amai.
He believes his offspring have inherited the humour gene and is determined to see them follow in his footsteps.
“My son swears that he’s going to be a basketball player,” Marlon says.
“And I’m sitting there and I say, ‘Son... you have really flat feet – you may not make it’.”
The Wayans Brothers perform at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on Wednesday, May 15.
Tickets are available through Ticketek.
Alive has two double passes to give away to the show.
For your chance to win, return the coupon in today's Maitland Mercury to our office by noon next Wednesday.