Damon Wayans talks about ‘SNL,’ ‘In Living Color,’ and his upcoming show at Cove Haven
First Posted: 1/6/2015
Damon Wayans is about to provide NEPA with the ultimate ‘Sunday Funday’.
The revered comic, perhaps known best for being a writer and co-star on the Emmy Award winning sketch comedy series “In Living Color” and executive-producer and star of “My Wife and Kids”, is bringing the laughs to Cove Haven Resort in Lakeville on Sunday, Jan. 25.
Weekender spoke with Wayans for a Q&A, where the comedian opened up about getting fired from “Saturday Night Live,” why he isn’t on Tinder, what to expect at his show.
Weekender: Have you ever been to the area?
Wayans: My aunt lived in the Poconos. I remember she always seemed to have snow and horses. Snow and horses, that’s my perception of Pennsylvania.
Weekender: You were actually fired from ‘Saturday Night Live’ in the 1980s during your first year as a featured player for going against the script by playing a character as a flamboyant gay cop instead of a straight cop. Why did you do that?
Wayans: I was angry. That’s the reason why it wasn’t funny, because I do a funny flamboyant character. It wasn’t funny because I was angry. They didn’t let me do what I wanted to do on ‘SNL’, which I came to learn was Lorne Michaels’ way of protecting me from looking like I was trying to be the next Eddie Murphy. It was right after Eddie Murphy left the show and they weren’t letting me do things that he would do. So, I went against the script. That was my frustration.
Weekender: Do you think it was fair to be fired?
Wayans: I knew I was going to get fired for it. Lorne did the right thing.
Weekender: Any regrets?
Wayans: No regrets. I went on to do what I wanted to do. A lot of the things I wanted to do, I went on to do on ‘In Living Color’. I was 25. I was young and full of myself on ‘SNL’. I didn’t know any better to be patient and wait for my time.
Weekender: ‘In Living Color’ was radical for its time when it first aired in 1990. If the show were to be rebooted today, do you think it would still be groundbreaking?
Wayans: Think about the political correctness of America right now. It needs to be challenged. If ‘In Living Color’ was on today, you could definitely confront a lot of things that is not being talked about in society, and I would. Look at the 24-hour news cycle. The 24-hour news cycle is using comedians to generate news. They’re taking a byline and making it a major headline. A lot of comedians used to have a voice, but they don’t exercise that voice because they don’t want to be in the court of public opinion over a joke. A show like ‘In Living Color’ would hit all of that head on, pushing the envelope because we aren’t supposed to be saying ‘that’. The scary thing is that in 2015, I couldn’t do a character like Blaine Edwards that I did in 1990, because of how politically correct America is. Gay people would get mad and say that’s not how gay people really act. But I would still do it because I know it’s funny. You have to show them why it’s funny, which ‘In Living Color’ was great at doing, so I guess the show would still be cutting-edge today.
Weekender: You mentioned comedians in the court of public opinion. Bill Cosby was recently heckled at a show in Canada in response to rape allegations made against him. As a comic, do you think Cosby should tolerate and look beyond the hecklers or should he cancel shows until things settle down?
Wayans: I think Bill Cosby needs to start cussing in his act and tell those motherf — kers to shut up.
Weekender: You helped revolutionize the world of television with ‘In Living Color’ and now you are revolutionizing the digital world. Talk about your new smartphone app and how it is going to transform the future.
Wayans: It’s called VHEDZ. The ‘V’ stands for video. The app allows you to take video and put it over photos and comment on social media in a new way. I got the idea by looking at Instagram. Sometimes you’ll see videos or pictures of people and you’ll just want to scream ‘what are you doing?’ or ‘where is your father?’ and ‘who let you dress like that?’
With VHEDZ you can do all that. Vine lets you touch the screen and play a video. With VHEDZ, you can press the screen and add commentary to it, music to it instead of only being able to type a response. There’s one picture of a woman in a tub of water and her ass is hanging out and I added a sound effect of her farting. It adds a lot more to the way we can socially connect with one anotherIt gives everyone there 15 seconds of fame.
Weekender: How much is the app and where can I get it?
Wayans: It’s free. Check the app store on your phone or www.vhedz.com
Weekender: You’re not married. Are you on Tinder?
Wayans? No. It’s creepy. I still believe you can meet somebody, you see them and you can connect with them. I don’t believe anybody on social media. I don’t want a woman who is on social media, because I don’t want to get into an argument and she is tweeting our arguments to the rest of the world. I just think that the old school way of having a relationship is the best way.
Weekender: What excites you?
Wayans: Sincere, happy people excite me. I love, love, love babies. A great book. A great movie. A woman who can laugh.
Weekender: What makes you laugh?
Wayans: Everyday situations in life. I have a granddaughter and she’s two years old. She comes by my house and if I tell her to give me a kiss, she goes off running and tells me that she has to go. Where does she have to go? That kind of stuff is really funny to me, everyday simple things like that to balls-out comedy from comedians like Louis C.K. and Chris Rock. I grew up watching cartoons and Richard Pryor, so there’s a wide range of humor that I appreciate.
Weekender: What can people expect from your Jan. 25 show at Cove Haven?
Wayans: I really mix it up on stage. I do character stuff, getting diagnosed with diabetes, I talk about being a grandfather. I talk about how I wish I was a grandfather before I was a father. It’s more fun being a grandparent. It’s all the love and kisses and hugs without the responsibility. I play with them and kiss them and then drop them off to their parents and say you need to beat them motherf — kers.