Marlon Wayans dropped by CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones on Friday to discuss his new show, “Marlon,” which will air on NBC. On the show, Wayans plays Marlon, an immature yet loving father who co-parents his two children with his ex-wife.
Gregg Giannotti couldn’t help but marvel at the premise. Sitcoms used to feature perfect families that rarely, if ever, mirrored real life; over the years, however, they’ve become more realistic and have done a better job of capturing familial dysfunction.
Staying true to life is important for Wayans.
“I definitely think it’s good to be true,” he said. “Audiences are tired of the old, perfect TV dad. We live in a very PC world and are looking for something that’s a little more truthful, a little more edgy and very un-PC, and my show is that. I’m a different kind of TV dad.”
Being “un-PC” was important to Wayans. In fact, the network wouldn’t sign off on everything Wayans wanted to include in production.
“Of course. That’s the fun part,” he said. “Some of that, we actually got to put on the show. That’s what makes the show fun is the fact that it’s doing something different. (We wanted to) play by a different set of rules and live in truth and make audiences feel something but laugh at the same time.”
Wayans would have had more content flexibility going the cable or Netflix route, but he wanted to stick with network television.
“I just wanted to do an unapologetic sitcom,” he said. “I grew up on ‘I Love Lucy,’ ‘The Honeymooners.’ I grew up on ‘Roseanne.’ I just wanted a classic sitcom. I like performing in front of an audience. This way, I know it’s funny before the audience even sees it because people are there and they’re laughing. That’s the great thing about sitcoms: You know what’s funny and you know what’s not. I didn’t want to guess what’s funny; I know what’s funny – because I hear the audience laugh, or they don’t. . . . Everybody kind of escapes to cable because you get to get away with more. I like walking the line of edgy and not going too far.”
Wayans, 44, is of course one of the best in the business. He has developed and honed his comedy through stand-up over the years.
“It’s like a jump shot,” Wayans said. “The more you do it, the better you get and you understand the science of it. I’m saying this joke in front of these people and it has this kind of energy. It’s like doing a fadeaway jump shot: same mechanics as a jump shot, but things change. The audience changes. That’s the X-factor every night. You just got to be on your toes and switch it up.”