Black People Used to…
… like the Wayans brothers.
I tried telling my seven nephews Buck, Otis, Rick, Wayman, A.C., Stacey, and Cadillac that the Wayans family were actually funny once and they got so mad they took turns flagrant fouling me. But it’s true — I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Hollywood Shuffle, In Living Color, even that Robert Townsend HBO special Partners in Crime all had their moments (if you can tell me where the quote “call me Aldeman baby” is from I’ll mail you my toaster … seriously).
Then in 1994, China’s year of the Dog, the movie Blankman debuted in August a few months after the last episode of Living Color.
I remember how much was made about Damon Wayans being fired from the cast of Saturday Night Live but I think what the movie Blankman proves is you don’t have to be rubber stamped by Lorne Michaels to get a one-note comedy idea made into a movie. Turns out the ‘blank’ in man stood for stares … at the screen. But a bad comedy can happen to anyone. The real horror is when a comedian tries to be something other than funny and fails. We don’t need to go over that list do we? We do?
Dane Cook in Mr. Brooks. Jim Carrey in The Majestic. Jack Black in Untitled Project (2010), Robin Williams in Awakenings, One Hour Photo, What Dreams May Come, Jack, Law & Order: SVU …
Keenan Ivory Wayans in Low Down Dirty Shame. First of all, keep in mind this movie was released a scant 3 months after Blankman, just going to show how rapid a Hollywood decline can be (consult the graph). Secondly, this movie was starred in, written by, and directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans. Even in 1994 no one wanted that much Wayans. And sure, okay, he also starred in, wrote, and directed Git You Sucka, which was good but that was a straight up comedy. You want to hear the one-liner for Low Down Dirty Shame? “A black detective becomes embroiled in a web of danger while searching for a fortune in missing drug money.” HA-HA-HA! Hilarious right? Lastly, Keenan did the one and only thing worse than trying to be a serious comedian; he tried to be a cool comedian. Look at this movie poster. Is this movie about an undercover cop or a man who turns into a penis with shades? You’re not Carl Weathers Keenan Ivory Wayans, and you never will be. Imagine Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock striking that pose? You can’t. And that’s why today the world’s foremost black comedian named Keenan is this guy.
Keenan and Damon were the family tent poles. If they fell then the whole blam empire would, and did. I mean who was going to hold it up after that, Kim Wayans? Marlon? My God … Sean? I saw Sean Wayans do stand up once; you could make the other option ‘an hour with Tommy Davidson as Sammy Davis Jr.’ and I still wouldn’t go through that again. The rest of this sad story is documented: The Last Boy Scout, Most Wanted, The Wayans Bros., In the House, Juwanna Mann, Major Payne, Celtic Pride, The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show, Marci X, Scary Movie, White Chicks, Little Man, Thugaboo … and they wonder how Bill Cosby got so cranky? Still, before you close the book on these Wayans’s I have a gut feeling 2008′s The Life and Times of Marcus Felony Brown is going to have a say.