Character Studies


Marlon Wayans, the youngest member of the Wayans family of comedians, is aiming high for his role as Richard Pryor in an upcoming biopic about the legendary funnyman. “I’m a Method actor. I’m gonna start doing stand-up, I’m gonna date some white girls, smoke a little crack — we gonna do this,” Wayans jokes. “No, honestly, I felt like if I’m going to play the greatest comedian ever, I should go get my behind onstage.”

For the past 18 months, Wayans — a genius of sketch comedy — has been honing this new skill opening for his brother Shawn, who’s been doing stand-up for 20 years. Right now, Marlon is focusing his energy squarely on playing a stand-up comedian onstage and on screen. But ahead of a three-night slate of sold-out dates with Shawn at the D.C. Improv, we asked Marlon about his three favorite other roles.

Marcus in “White Chicks” (2004): “It’s one of my favorites because it was so hard to do. Playing a white woman is probably the hardest thing you have to do in your life. Marlon Brando has never played a white woman. Denzel never played a white woman.”

Loc Dog in “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (1996): “I held my face in that damn contorted position for a 40-day shoot. I was able to throw myself into that character and have a lot of fun — play up his ignorance, but there’s still something lovable about him.”

Shorty Meeks in the first two “Scary Movie” films (2000, 2001): “He’s based on someone I knew, and I’d do imitations of him. He is THE weed-head. [The real Shorty] was pissed. ‘Son, I’m going to sue you for defecation of character, son! I don’t even sound like that, son!’ I saw him a few years later and he was like, ‘All right, son, here’s what we’re gonna do. I’m gonna let you do the rights to my biopic. We gonna bury the hat trick.’”

DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW; Fri.-Sun., 8 & 10:30 p.m., sold out; 202-296-7008. (Farragut North)

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