Scary interview 

“’Cause we knew it was gonna make us rich!” Marlon Wayans intercepts my question of “Why scary movies?” that I’d just tossed to his big brother Shawn. Hey, little bro’s just keepin’ it real as he zips through their elegant hotel rooms like a tail-fire-propelled Daffy Duck grooming his Buckwheat-versus-the-electric socket ’fro. “Ain’t no artistic ...,” I manage to catch as he blows between Shawn and me, negotiating the obstacle course of room-service trays like a professional driver on a closed track. His words are lost in the bathroom down the hall. Shawn waves him off, cold chillin’ behind his dark wrap-around shades as he lounges on a couch, the self-described homie Dean Martin to his little brother’s manic, hood-rat Jerry Lewis.

But let’s rewind a bit. I’d been notified in print and by a professionally pleasant verbal confirmation from the Wayans’ publicists to kindly arrive at their posh, suburban hotel 10 minutes prior to my scheduled interview time. Ain’t no thang, ladies. But two hours prior to this time, a publicist professionally and pleasantly invites me to arrive, well, now. The brothers need to get their food on so I jump into the ride and drive crosstown like a bat out of hell (or an ambulance driver in a ’91 Escort). Forty-five minutes later, I arrive in the lobby, make it through the gantlet of doormen and the concierge to be pleasantly (and, again professionally) informed by the publicists that the Wayans brothers are enjoying their last dining opportunity prior to their evening in-flight meal. An hour or so later, I get to press record and play:

Shawn Wayans: ... a brotha gotta eat!

Metro Times: I hear that! So, Scary Movie 2...

Shawn: Basically, it’s a follow-up to the first one. In the first one we took on the slasher films and this time around we took on the supernatural. So we did everything from The Exorcist to ... The Haunting.

MT: You’ve got a whole different take on it?

Shawn: Yeah, a different take.

MT: How did you bring Ray and Shorty [the Wayans’ Scary Movie characters] back from the dead? Is it a prequel or ...

Shawn: No. We wrote it. That’s it.

MT: There’s no explanation? Ray and Shorty are just back and in effect?

Shawn: There’s a quick explanation, but it’s a joke.

MT: One thing that interests me about you guys is that you come from a whole family of comedians. How do you think that came about?

Shawn: I think that it had a lot to do with where we came up and how we came up ... not having a lot of things forced us to be creative. We had dreams. We dreamt a lot when we was younger. All it took was for one of us to break out first and then the rest followed.

MT: So, Keenan [Ivory Wayans, eldest brother and director of Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2] was kinda like ...

Shawn: Keenan was the pioneer and Damon followed, and Marlon and I followed.

MT: It seems like you all have different roles. Keenan is the action guy — he plays the action roles — and Damon, he seems like he plays the everyman kinda character, and you and Marlon are kinda like the young homies ...

Shawn: The young Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis type ...

MT: Yeah! Yeah, ’cause you guys, you’re the team. It seems like you’re wacky and he’s wackier. That kinda relationship.

Shawn: You got us down! No need talkin’ to you! You got it all on file. You got it pretty down pat.

MT: Now, do you guys consider Scary Movie — I guess you could call it a series now — do you consider it part of the gross-out genre or do you consider it something completely different?

Shawn: Well, we consider ...

Marlon Wayans: [shouting from the bathroom] We got about 10 doo-doo jokes and sperm floatin’ around and that’s gotta be gross? That ain’t disgustin’ or nothin’.

Shawn: Honestly, the gross-out genre ...

Marlon: Vomiting in people’s ass is disgustin’. Other than that ...

Shawn: [shouting at Marlon] Hey, stupid! Shut up!

Marlon: ... shootin’ a girl on a geyser ... impact a girl into the ceiling ain’t fucked up! [referring to a notorious scene from Scary Movie where a girl is plastered to her bedroom ceiling on a geyser of her sexually frustrated boyfriend’s ejaculate].

Shawn: [shouting at Marlon] Hey! Hey! [back to MT] The gross-out genre, I think, is a genre within itself and what it is, is a genre of movies that really have nothing more to it other than gross jokes that really aren’t funny. The film that we are doing is more of a parody of the horror films that occasionally the characters get put in a situation that ends up going … we take it to the extreme and some of the stuff is gross, but it’s funny. It’s not us just trying to be gross for gross sake. That’s not funny.

MT: So that’s what separates you from like a Tom Green?

Shawn: Yeah. It’s the difference between us and a lot of the cats that are trying to do it. I don’t know what Tom Green did ’cause I didn’t see ...

MT: You didn’t see Freddy Got Fingered?

Shawn: No. I didn’t see it, so I can’t really talk about it, but as far as the rest of the cats out there tryin’ to do a lot of the Farrelly brothers type of, you know, Something About Mary and Scary Movie-type humor, it’s more to the equation than meets the eye.

MT: Were the Farrelly brothers any influence on you guys or you just came from your own thing?

Shawn: We came from our own thing, but the Farrelly brothers — definitely, we’re big fans of them. I think what happened was that “Living Color” took humor ... here [indicates with his hands], pushing the envelope ... the Farrelly brothers came a couple of years down the line and pushed it here [indicates further]. The South Park guys pushed it here [further]. And then we came back and pushed it here.

MT: Oh, I see — so there’s a whole theory ...

Shawn: Well, you gotta know where the last person left off and then you have to go from there.

MT: When I watch Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood and Scary Movie, it seems like you also have some older influences. I can see Mel ...

Shawn: Mel Brooks ...

MT: Definitely ...

Shawn: The Zucker brothers ...

MT: Yes! Zucker and Abrams ...

Shawn: All those guys are definitely part of who we are. We pay mad, mad respect to them. They definitely kicked the door open and we just try to run with the torch. But they got there before and we studied all the greats.

MT: How do you test your stuff? I heard Keenan was really hard on you guys with Scary Movie.

Shawn: He was twice as hard on this one. We had half the time and yet we had to strive to the same level as when we had more time. It was a challenge, but I ...

MT: You think it’s going to be successful?

Shawn: I hope it’s going to be successful. All I know is I think we gave it our best.

Scary Movie 2 opens in theaters nationwide on July 4.

James Keith La Croix writes about film for the Metro Times. E-mail him at

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