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Marlon Wayans has come a long way since In Living Color, Scary Movie and Requiem for a Dream.

Last year, NBC gave him his own television series, Marlon. After premiering for 10 episodes in the fall of 2017, Marlon was renewed for a second season, set to air later this year. He also had the leading role in the Netflix movie Naked in 2017, and in February, Netflix released his standup comedy special, Woke-Ish.

He’ll be returning to the area to perform at Spotlight 29 on Saturday, April 7.

During a recent phone interview, Wayans said he was proud that Marlon had been renewed for a second season.

“I worked hard to promote it, and I’m glad that it found an audience,” Wayans said. “People enjoy it, and I’m hoping we can build on that this upcoming season. The episodes have been really funny so far, and I can’t wait to just stand behind it and present it.”

Despite many years as a comedy-film star, Marlon had never done standup comedy until fairly recently.

“When you do these jokes and tour around the country with them, and it sticks, then you present it to the home audience, and they appreciate you. A good joke is a good joke,” Wayans said. “When you put it on Netflix, and it’s worldwide, you hope it connects as well. … I feel a difference when I hit the stage, and it’s exciting. Before, (audiences said), ‘Let me see if he’s funny,’ and now it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s funny!’”

Wayans said it has not been a problem to balance a television series with doing standup comedy at venues across the United States.

“I love it. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and I don’t have idle hands at all,” he said. “To me, it keeps me focused, keeps me grounded, keeps me in front of audiences—and I’m only getting better. When I do a movie or TV, I have that audience in my head. I think of what joke works the best or what joke goes too far. Everything prepares you for something, and I’m happy I found my purpose at a young age, but I’m mad that I started doing standup too late. My peers are tired of doing standup while I’m excited.”

In 2000, Wayans starred in a live-action film based on the famous role-playing board game Dungeons and Dragons. While the movie was a failure, he said the experience was a lot of fun.

“I did Requiem for a Dream, Scary Movie and Dungeons and Dragons concurrently. I was hopping between Vancouver, New York and Prague doing those three movies at the same time,” he explained. “It was fun to do Dungeons and Dragons, and it was a cute movie, but I wish it had a bigger budget. A movie like that should cost millions and millions of dollars.

“My kids cried when I died, given they were little at the time—all like, ‘Daddy’s dead!’ I had to reaffirm to them and be like, ‘No, Daddy is right here! That’s TV; Daddy is here.’ I used to play Dungeons and Dragons growing up during high school, so it was really surreal doing that movie.”

Despite being mentioned many times in Wayans brothers productions. Mrs. Wayans, his mother, has never made an appearance in any of their films.

“She keeps asking, but I know my mom,” he said. “I tell her, ‘Ma, you’re not going to like fame! If someone bothers you while you’re eating, you’re going to cuss them out.’ We call our mom the creative producer; she created all of us.”

There is one topic Wayans is dismayed to discuss.

“I hate having to talk about race in 2018,” he said. “I think South Africa had it right when they imprisoned someone for being racist. I think at this point in time, we should try to do away with racism and stop seeing the world in black and white. It’s sad.”

Marlon Wayans will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $25 to $45. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit www.spotlight29.com.

Published in Comedy

April is the final month of the busy season—and it seems like some venues have saved the best for last.

April marks the final full month of events at the McCallum Theatre. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, Lucie Arnaz—actress, singer, producer and daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz—presents Stepping Out for College of the Desert: Latin Roots. The show will pay tribute to Arnaz’s Latin roots, especially the man who helped bring Latin music to America—her father. Tickets are $67 to $127. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, enjoy a rock show by Boz Scaggs. His soulful singing combined with his rocking guitar is always a treat—and “Lowdown” is a great song to hear live. Tickets are $100 to $250. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will be performing A Tribute to John Williams. Considering how many great films for which Williams has composed soundtracks, this should be a wonderful show to take in. Tickets are $87 to $137. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting two fine events in April. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, comedian and puppeteer Terry Fator will be performing. Fator’s wildly popular shows are always funny and entertaining. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, enjoy a double-bill of Latin music when Los Lobos (right) and Los Lonely Boys perform. While Los Lobos is best known for the cover of “La Bamba” for the 1987 biographical Ritchie Valens film, there are a lot of cuts the band recorded early in a 45-year career that are political and go deep into the Latin-music genre. Hopefully some of that will be played here! The group Los Lonely Boys is best remembered for hit-song “Heaven,” and the band has sold millions of albums. Tickets are $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has one compelling music event in April: At 8 p.m., Friday, April 6, The Doobie Brothers will be performing. The famed Northern California rock band is no stranger to the desert. The group has won four Grammy awards and has sold 48 million records. Tickets are $60 to $80. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has an event in April comedy fans will love: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, Marlon Wayans will be returning to the area. I spoke with the comedian and actor last year, and during the interview, his mother—the famous “Mrs. Wayans” referenced in Wayans brothers comedy—actually called him on his other phone. Marlon is hilarious, and he’s proven himself to be a talented actor outside of the comedy genre—see Requiem for a Dream—and has worked as a screenwriter and producer. Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa doesn’t have any big music events in April, but get ready to celebrate, ladies … that’s right: At 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, Australia’s Thunder From Down Under is BACK! The all-handsome, all-hunk, all-male revue is a hit, and the shows usually sell out—so get your tickets while you still can. They cost $25. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will probably be bonkers with surprises in April thanks to Coachella and Stagecoach—and already, there are a lot of sold-out events. Here are some great shows with tickets left as of our deadline: At 9 p.m., Thursday, April 5, bass-and-drum duo Sumo Princess will take the stage. Sumo Princess features Abby Travis (KMFDM, Eagles of Death Metal, The Bangles) and Gene Trautmann (Queens of the Stone Age, Mojave Lords, Mark Lanegan). Also on the bill is Elettrodomestico, featuring Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 6, talented local musician Gene Evaro Jr. (pictured below; photo by Guillermo Prieto/irockphotos.net) will be performing an outdoor show. Also on the bill: His sister, Gabriella Evaro. Tickets are $15 to $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs has a busy month of April, per usual. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, Palm Springs cabaret star Jerome Elliott will be performing. Elliott will sing hits from Broadway, the world of pop music, and the Great American Songbook. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 21, internationally known singer and pianist Lori Donato will take the stage in a show celebrating Marilyn Maye. Donato has a vocal range that allows her to master blues, jazz and other genres. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 27, Ann Hampton Callaway will perform songs from all the divas that we love—Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and many others. Tickets are $55 to $65. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

Summer is upon us—officially, even, as of the night of June 20. Why don’t you beat the heat and enjoy a great show or two?

Agua Caliente Casino Report Spa’s June schedule is a little light, but there are a couple of things worth mentioning (beyond a sold-out Moody Blues show on Saturday, June 3). At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 17, you’ll need to get your shout-outs to your “shorty in lockdown” ready, because the Art LaBoe Summer Love Jam will return. All joking aside, there’s some great music on the lineup this year. Funk legend ZAPP is one of the acts worth going to see, as the group has been sampled by several hip-hop artists, including Dr. Dre. Tickets are $45 to $65. If you never got to see Pink Floyd play a live show, you missed out, since the members have stated there will be no reunion—ever. But at 9 p.m., Friday, June 30, you can experience Pink Floyd’s music set to lasers at Paramount’s Laser Spectacular. Some of these laser shows with Pink Floyd’s music can be pretty cool—plus it beats sitting at home watching Netflix. Tickets are $20 to $30. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has just one big show in June—but it’s huge. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 9, get ready for some serious laughs, because Chris Rock will be stopping by. Chris Rock has been incredible to watch over the years, given how well he always reflects the times in his stand-up routine. I still love the bit he did about Lil’ Jon and rap music, which has become one of his best-known standup moments. Tickets are $89 to $149. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29’s entertainment slate for June is also a little light, but there is one thing you won’t want to miss (aside from the Ziggy Marley show, which you can read about on Friday, June 2, here at CVIndependent.com): At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 24, Los Chicos del 512 will be performing a tribute to Selena. The group will perform all of Selena’s music that you know and love. Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort and Spa has several great events on the calendar. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 2, Marlon Wayans will bring the funny; tickets are $23 to $29. Be sure to check out my interview with him here. That same night, at 10 p.m., Friday, June 2, power-pop band The Romantics (upper right) will perform. This is a show you should see if you’re a true rock ’n’ roll fan. The Romantics had a couple of big hit songs: “What I Like About You” and “Talking In Your Sleep.” The band’s lineup once included Blondie drummer Clem Burke; he’s no longer with the band, but three original members are! Tickets are $20. Keeping with the ’80s theme, at 10 p.m., Friday, June 16, new-wave band The Motels will be appearing. The Motels had one or two hits in the ’80s and then faded away, before re-forming in 1998. Martha Davis still fronts the band—and still believes in the music. Tickets are $20. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will be the place to go this summer for great live music—and the venue’s June calendar is packed. Read my interview with the Tijuana Panthers here; the band will perform at 9 p.m., Friday, June 2, and tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 9, Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight will take the stage. Rhodes was once the front man of the Los Angeles punk band Human Therapy, and now performs in this spectacular alt-country band. If you can’t make it to the show, at least check out the band on the streaming services. I can almost guarantee you’ll like it. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 10, New Orleans R&B/country band The Deslondes will be returning to Pappy and Harriet’s. The band’s New Orleans sound is timeless; The Deslondes really do have something going for themselves. After seeing the group perform at Stagecoach, I can tell you it’s a fun band to watch. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 24, psychedelic rock band The Black Lips will be returning. The band’s shows are often pretty insane. While they’ve behaved themselves at Pappy and Harriet’s the last couple of times, they’ve been known to get naked, vomit, set things on fire and so on. War Drum front man Jack Kohler once told me a story about how when he worked for the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, he was told to deliver shaving cream to the band’s hotel room—and found the band shaving a group of women from head to toe. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room has some familiar names returning in June. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 2 and 3, America’s favorite dragapella group, The Kinsey Sicks, will be performing the Things You Shouldn’t Say show. Tickets are $30 to $45. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 17, The Buddy Holly Review will do its thing. As a fan of Buddy Holly, I’ve been interested in this show; I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 30, there will be a benefit for the American Cancer Society featuring Debby Holiday (below). Debby Holiday is a star on the rise with two hit singles, “Never Give Up” and “Key to Your Soul.” Tickets are $25 to $35. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has a couple of events, starring local bands, that are worth your consideration. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 2, there will be a metal show with Drop Mob, Perishment, Instigator and In the Name of the Dead. Considering how long as Drop Mob has been around, it’s good to see the band finally being noticed. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Thursday, June 8, Courtney Chambers, Caxton, and 5th Town will take the stage. This should be a fun show; all of the bands are female-fronted—and rather talented. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

The Wayans Brothers are an American institution, thanks to their various comedy TV shows and movies.

The youngest of the Wayans Brothers in showbiz is Marlon, who appeared with his family members on the iconic early 1990s sketch show In Living Color. He’s also known for playing Loc Dog in the ’90s Wayans comedy film Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, and for more-serious roles in films such as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Requiem for a Dream.

Marlon Wayans will helm a new television series titled Marlon, which will premiere on NBC in August, and stars in the upcoming Netflix original film Naked. Ever-busy, he’s also doing stand-up comedy and will be appearing at Morongo Casino Resort Spa on Friday, June 2.

During a recent phone interview with Wayans—which was interrupted by his mother calling him at one point—he discussed his upcoming sitcom on NBC.

“We filmed 10 episodes, and I’m really proud of every episode,” Wayans said. “We had a great writing staff. I feel like you hit that point in your career where everything starts making sense, and you understand putting it all together instead of just being funny. What I love about the show is it’s funny based on the circumstances, truth and point of view. It’s also funny because of the characters. At the end of the day, it has heart. Coming from parody for most of my life, when you start getting into good television, it’s not just about the jokes, but (also) if you made people think.

“I took a break from doing stand-up, and when I went back to stand-up after doing Marlon, it made me a better comedian.”

Making romantic-comedy Naked also gave Wayans the opportunity to show off his acting abilities.

“I have a background in actual dramatic acting. What’s great about Naked and my television show is I have real scenes and real acting,” he said. “I have to let the situation take the character to the elevated place, and it’s not just me running around naked. I have a purpose (in Naked): My purpose is to get married. I’m late for my wedding; I went out for a drink; I had too many; I woke up the next day buck-naked in the elevator not knowing how I got there. I’m over an hour late for my wedding, and I have to run across town to get there, and if I don’t have the right ring, the right suit or the right vows, I have to start back in the elevator and repeat the same hour over and over again, butt-naked, until I give my girl the proper wedding. It’s like a broader version of Groundhog Day.”

When I brought up the psychological drama Requiem for a Dream, he laughed and repeated the title in a deep voice. I told him I recently saw the film on a list of movies that you can’t watch more than once.

“People tell me all the time, ‘I LOVED YOU IN REQUIEM FOR A DREAM!’ and the guy next to him high on weed is like, ‘I loved you in Scary Movie, son!’” he said. “But I was in it! I watched it one time, and I haven’t seen it since. It depresses me. I called my mama after I did that movie and was like, ‘Mom, I’m so sorry if I did anything to piss you off. I’m so sorry. I know you’re lonely. Move in with me in California!’ That’s the mark of a good movie, though—if you feel different after you see it. It’s like a roller-coaster ride that keeps going down and goes down into the ground and into hell, and you die from there.”

The box-office smash Scary Movie in 2000 and the sequel Scary Movie 2 in 2001 were created and helmed by the Wayans brothers. However, David Zucker was chosen to continue the franchise after that, with no involvement from the Wayans.

“I think he did his version of it. I don’t think it was a good job or a bad job. It was different,” he said. “If I cook steak one way, and somebody else says, ‘I’m going to make steak,’ he’s going to use different seasonings. David Zucker is a funny guy in his own right. He has his own way of doing things, and it’s not the brand that we do. But it’s different, and it’s all subjective. It’s not what we would have done, but I get it.”

Wayans shared his favorite part about making the first two films.

“Chris Elliott came in and did a role in Scary Movie 2, and he was so damn funny,” Wayans said. “It was like being a kid again and watching Jim Carrey and Damon (Wayans) on the set of In Living Color: You’re in the scene, but you’re laughing so hard on the inside.”

Marlon Wayans’ White Chicks is one of his most famous films. Fun fact: It opened on the same weekend as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

“I had a great time filming every movie,” Wayans said. “I loved the experience of Don’t Be a Menace. Scary Movie was great because it was our biggest, and White Chicks was the hardest thing to do and the most miraculous thing we pulled off. People everywhere loved White Chicks—especially white chicks. That makeup was hell. It was very hard, and it’s a mental thing. It messes with your mind, because you can’t breathe, and it feels like someone is suffocating you. I couldn’t wait to rip it off my face when they said it was a wrap.”

Wayans intends to stay busy, and has other projects in development.

“I have a show (coming up) on MTV called High Crimes, which is a clip show of dumb people doing crimes when they’re high. That’s going to be airing soon, and I’m producing that one,” he said. “There are also a couple of pilots I’m producing. I’m really focusing on my stand-up, because I want to do a special, and I’m getting to a place to where I’m feeling special. I’m trying to perfect myself, and I want to keep getting better. I’ve been doing this 25 years, and I’m blessed to have had a long career and a long stay, but I feel like I haven’t had my best moment yet. I’m still hungry for it, and I feel like the next 20 years are my best years ahead of me.”

Marlon Wayans will perform at 9 p.m., Friday, June 2, at Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. Tickets are $23 to $39. For more information, call 800-252-4499, or visit www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Published in Comedy