Marlon Wayans electrifies Madison in hysterical laughter

Photo Courtesy of Derek Koepke. 

Without a doubt, famed comedian Marlon Wayans exceeded expectations at Friday’s Orpheum show. The theater was seemingly at full capacity to experience the hilarious stand-up, with laughs on a steady climb from beginning to end.

The show opened with Marlon’s niece Chaunte Wayans, providing about half an hour of content about her “sometimes rich” relationship with her family, refraining from smoking and alcohol for the past six months and being gay with male friends. Who knows how much of the jokes were about Chaunte’s actual life experiences, but also...who cares? Everyone laughed in carefree unison as Chaunte described moments like the difficulty of talking to her male friends about a girlfriend cheating with another girl, or how she somehow turns straight when drunk and found herself one morning naked beside a guy. The stories were ingeniously prepared, giving insight into a continuing bright future in comedy for the performer. She made clear acknowledgment of her family, notably the feature performer for the night, and it’s clear they constantly inspire her career. Perhaps Chaunte will expand her platform into more film and TV appearances, like the brothers we know and love.

At her close, Chaunte cued the DJ for Marlon’s walk-on music. She left us with a final laugh when she cut the music off and scolded the DJ for playing the wrong song. But finally, with a deep bass of Meek Mill throbbing through the speakers, Marlon ran out onstage, welcomed with a standing applause. His energy hit the stage high and didn’t diminish for the entire hour-and-a-half he was on, fully animated with every story, every pun and every time he had to tell a front-row birthday boy to “sit his ass down.” Much of Marlon’s content focused on alcohol and race, joking about the stress and differences between drinking with each group. With a minimalistic stage setup, Marlon hilariously used the stool, mic and his own clothes as props. At one point he rolled up his oversized t-shirt as if in drag and at another moment threw the microphone as if lassoing a woman with his penis. Needless to say, the content was explicit and uncensored. Halfway through the show, Marlon was forced to call on Chaunte for a new mic, having damaged the mic.

Perhaps what was most impressive about Marlon’s show was his level of relevance with the audience, making references from Wisconsin weather to the political climate. These are the moments when a comedian’s merit as a performer reach a strong high. Marlon expertly weaved in views like a person’s right to identify their gender however they please or to marry whomever they choose, and that Donald Trump would be a much better candidate if he could just learn to fix his hair. Everyone nearly gasped in hysterical laughter as Marlon took shots at candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Overall, the show was more than expected. With Marlon Wayans' last two films, especially "50 Shades of Black," being no more than comedy duds, the stand-up performance definitely reaffirms his comedic skill. Chaunte was an appropriate opener. She left much of the animation and stage work to her uncle, but her affluence in comedic material is not unnoticed. It helps to have such a large family invested in the art.

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