On this day in comedy on January, 19, 1971 Comedian, Actor, Writer, Producer, Shawn Mathis Wayans was born in New York City, New York!
Even though Wayans hailed from a family boasting comedy pedigree, he learned stand-up by playing small venues in the late 1980s in and around Hollywood. He gained his knowledge of film from studying his brother, Keenen Ivory; particularly on the set of I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, where Shawn Wayans had a small part as a pedestrian. So when FOX picked up Keenen’s creation, In Living Color, Shawn was ready to contribute to the groundbreaking sketch show and work alongside brothers Keenen, Damon, Dwayne, Marlon and their sister, Kim. He assumed the role of DJ SW-1 (the show’s spin master) and later became a featured player.
Shawn was as adept behind the camera as he was in front. He and Marlon created their own sitcom, The Wayans Bros which aired on the WB from 1995-1999. It was a popular entry for the new network and gave the brothers clout. Their next move was the big screen. They wrote, executive produced and starred in the 1996 hit Don’t Be A Menace In South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, a spoof of hood flicks.
Film parodies were good for Team Wayans. Following several guest starring appearances on television (including Hangin with Mr. Cooper and voicing the character of Toof for brother, Damon’s animated series, Wayneshead) , Shawn Wayans struck gold with Marlon again as writers and stars of the smash hit, Scary Movie; a spoof of horror films. Keenen directed. They had similar success with the 2001 sequel, Scary Movie 2 and kept the formula going with White Chicks (2004), Little Man (2006) and Dance Flick (2009).
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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