Marlon and Shawn Wayans had to write their own sketches for ‘In Living Color’


Marlon and Shawn Wayans both appeared in older brother Keenen Ivory Wayans’ comedy series In living color. But according to Marlon, neither received special privileges. While other actors on the show received prepared scripts, Marlon and Shawn were forced to write their own material.

Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans wrote their own sketches for “In Living Color”

Marlon Wayans (left), Keenen Ivory Wayans and Shawn Wayans in 2005 | Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

In living color was created by Keenan Ivory Wayans and featured four of his siblings, including Damon and Kim. Marlon and Shawn, the youngest of the Wayans family, also appeared on the show. But Keenen insisted that they write their own sketches and earn their screen time.

“Work on In living color was nerve-wracking, intimidating, educational and fun,” Marlon told GQ. “But I learned to work hard. You’re on a show where every last cast member will be a legend. I was the baby of the bunch…me and Shawn. And no one was writing sketches for Keenen’s talentless little brothers. And it was Keenen speaking.

“So we had to write our own sketches,” he continued. “And so Shawn and I would stay up all night because that’s what the cast would do. Jim Carrey, Damon, Kim, they stayed there until 3am to write their characters. So me and Shawn would stay until 5 in the morning, 6 in the morning, because we were just trying to get a thing or two in.

Marlon Wayans remembers writing his first “In Living Color” sketches

Speaking to GQ, Marlon recalls writing his first In living color sketch with Shawn. It was titled “Snuff and Rome” and featured the duo as two inmates hilariously trying to dominate other people in their holding cell.

In a 2018 Instagram post, Marlon shared a video of his second sketch, “Mr. Ugly Man.” And in the caption, he credited the show with making him a successful writer.

“It was one of the first sketches I wrote,” Marlon explained. “I remember reading it at the table on In living color and how everyone laughed. But most of all, I remembered the proud smile that spread across my big brother/mentor/idol face @keenenivorywayans through his loud laugh as he said “that was funny Marlon”.

“Thus a writer was born and this sketch was made,” he added. “I am proud to be a veteran of In living color. This is where the beast[s] were born. Thanks Ivory.

The sketch comedy won awards and launched careers

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In living color premiered on Fox in 1990 and ran for five seasons until 1994. In its first season, the series won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Series.

The show served as a starting point for several stars, including Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey and Jennifer Lopez. And it propelled Marlon and Shawn’s careers as major forces in Hollywood, as they wrote and starred in several blockbuster films, including horror movie, horror movie 2and white chicks.

RELATED: Marlon Wayans thought Shawn Wayans was stoned when he dropped ‘White Chicks’ at 3 a.m.


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