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Wayans family values: Hard work and comedy

It’s been 25 years since the Wayans family made a huge splash on television with their landmark sketch comedy show “In Living Color.”

In the ensuing decades, the individual Wayans have remained a constant presence in the entertainment landscape. Marlon, the youngest of the Wayans siblings – there are 10 of them – maintains a crazy busy schedule.

He hosts the NBC variety series “I Can Do That” (Tuesdays, 10 p.m.), in which celebrities such as comedian Jeff Dye and pop star Joe Jonas learn to dance with the Jabbawockeez, slam dunk with the Harlem Globetrotters, and bang the drums with the Blue Man Group. He’s just announced his latest parody movie, “Fifty Shades of Black,” which he’ll write and star in, for 2016. He co-founded the website What The Funny (, which specializes in urban comedy. His movies include “Scary Movie,” “Requiem for a Dream” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”

He also maintains an active stand-up career, heading out on the road most weekends. On Saturday, he’s winging his way to Eastern Washington for a show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. He’s bringing with him his brother Shawn, his longtime collaborator, and their nephew Damon Jr., most recently of the sitcoms “Happy Endings” and “New Girl.”

After touring with three of his brothers last year – Shawn, Keenen and Damon Sr. – Marlon Wayans said he’s happy to be on the road with the second generation of the entertainment dynasty.

“It’s funny with our family, it’s interchangeable,” he said by phone last week. “You put any three or four people together and it makes good show. There have been shows I dropped out of that was supposed to be me, Shawn and Damon, and I couldn’t do it, so little Damon would do it. Sometimes Keenen will fill in. … It’s three different points of view of the same point of view.”

As for this weekend’s show, he added, “Damon’s like ‘I’m not touring no more,’ and Keenan’s like ‘I’m tired,’ ” he said, impersonating his brothers’ voices. “So we had to pick one. So little Damon. We may bring (niece) Chaunté, too. Throw one more Wayans into the mix.”

This isn’t a sketch comedy show where the three will play off each other. Each performer will do his own set. “We shared a bed for 17 years,” Wayans joked. “We aren’t sharing a stage.”

The subject matter – sports, politics, family, love, relationships – changes up depending on the mood, he said. “You put your playlist together when you get there.”

Speaking of “In Living Color,” which ran for five seasons in the 1990s, the Emmy-winning show not only made the Wayans family a household name, it launched the careers of Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, former “Fly Girl” Jennifer Lopez and choreographer/actress Rosie Perez, among others. Wayans isn’t sure that a show like “In Living Color” will ever happen again.

“That’s lightning in a bottle. That’s a hard show to duplicate,” he said. “It was a certain moment in time. Like Halley’s Comet.”

For all his success in television and movies, Wayans said he still loves getting out in front of an audience.

“For me it’s one of my great joys to hear people laugh and hear them live, because when you do movies, you don’t get that live effect,” he said. “There’s a high you get when you hear people laugh.”

Just don’t ask him which of the three Wayans at Northern Quest is the funniest. We’re all funny, he said.

“I think we’ll all three set ourselves on fire to make somebody laugh.”

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