As his 50th birthday looms later this month, Marlon Wayans says the best is yet to come.
An actor, comedian, writer, producer and member of the famous family that includes his brothers Damon, Keenen Ivory and Shawn, Wayans says his first 50 years were practice.
“Oh, I’m going to top that,” he said recently. “My plan is, in the next 20 years, to do everything that I set out to do, man, and then enjoy my Morgan Freeman years.”
The many hit comedies Wayans starred in during his training years, as he calls them, include “White Chicks,” “Scary Movie,” “Scary Movie 2” and “A Haunted House.” More recently, he played noncomedic roles in the Aretha Franklin biopic, “Respect,” and Sofia Coppola-directed “On the Rocks.”
Beyond acting, telling jokes in person on stages all over America remains a huge part of Wayans’ life. He’s bringing his “Microphone Fiend Tour” to L’Auberge Event Center on Saturday.
“This is what I’ve wanted since I was little,” said the youngest of 10 Wayans siblings. “I’ve always dreamed of it. I believe, if you dream it, if you work hard toward it, you can achieve it. No excuses. Just go be your greatest you and make it happen.”
On his “Microphone Fiend Tour,” Wayans gets personal, and the jokes are on him.
“I talk about me,” he said. “Everything that’s happened in this world, the pandemic, whatever, it’s a personal journey. I don’t make fun of the audience. I make fun of myself. I go through all these events, of how it all ties back to me. I think it’s a really beautiful, funny, crazy adventure.”
Wayans’ recent experiences include doing standup amid the pandemic. His need to inspire laughter became even more pronounced during the depression he experienced after his mother’s death in 2020.
“I’ve got to express,” Wayans said. “And when the pandemic happened, I could write my projects, but nobody was acting. So, I was doing standup underneath freeways, outdoors. Wherever they sent me, to 75 people, I didn’t care. I just had to go make people laugh and remember my purpose and remember that, hey, man, there’s laughter in everything. So, once I found my smile again, I was infecting people with that disease, laughter.”
Far from being an ailment, laughter was medicine for Wayans and the big family he grew up with in New York City.
“We were very poor, under extreme circumstances,” he recalled. “Instead of crying about it, we laughed about it.”
In addition to the Wayans family projects they contributed to, Wayans and his slightly older brother, Shawn, grew up to be the main attractions in multiple projects, including “White Chicks” and the ’90s TV series “The Wayans Brothers.”
“We just had a rhythm,” Wayans said. “We dreamed together. We studied together. We watched Abbott and Costello, ‘The Honeymooners,’ the Three Stooges, Ernie and Bert on ‘Sesame Street,’ Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. And we’ve always fancied ourselves as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. We always wanted to be a great buddy-comedy duo. We did that.”
Wayans family matriarch Elvira Alethia Wayans encouraged her children’s creativity. Her youngest child only recently stopped devoting part of his standup act to her.
“My father was silly and my mother was really funny,” he recalled. “I had a whole set about my mother, but then things started happening. I was like, ‘Wait, Ma. I love you and I’ll get back to you, but now I gotta talk about this stuff.’”
Despite his decades of success, Wayans is still striving to forge his own identity within his exceptional family.
“I have so many great giants before me,” he said. “I’ve got to really work hard to make my own footprint, in my own way. And I’ve contributed to the Wayans my whole career. The legacy is great and huge, but the past 10 years, I’ve been working toward building Marlon. I want the name ‘Marlon’ to have as much weight as ‘Wayans.’ Then I’ll feel like I’ve done something extraordinary.”
8 p.m. Saturday
L’Auberge Event Center, 777 L’Auberge Ave.