Celebrity Interviews: Keenan Ivory Wayans
   
 



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by
Laurence Washington


  Director-actor Keenen Ivory Wayans is serious about his comedy.
  "I'm not on all the time," Wayans says. "I like to have fun and be funny, but I'm much more of a thinker."
  Wayans, known for his outrageous comedy skits and edgy satire on the early 1990s hit television show "In Living Color" and the big screen blaxploitation spoof, "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka," describes himself as very quiet. Wayans is the kind of guy who wouldn't be troubled by a stint in solitary confinement, he says.
  "I'd just sit back and chill," Wayans says. "There would be no going crazy."
  However, chillin' is a concept many Wayans fans might find difficult to comprehend, especially after his latest film Scary Movie lampoons everything from rock star Prince to 1990s horror movies.
  "I throw it all in there," Wayans says. "Kung Fu, blaxploitation, horror. And some of the jokes you can't hear because you' re still laughing at previous joke. But that's the idea. To keep you coming back to the theater, and every time you see the movie, such as "Airplane" or "Monty Python and The Holy Grail," you see something different every time."
  Whether it's television or the movies, Wayans says 30 percent to 50 percent of the material the audience sees is ad-libbed.
  "I go through a whole process with the actors first, building and creating characters, then I encourage them to sort of live in that character when they're in the screen. Then I take away their dialogue, and let them speak as the character. So then some really funny stuff comes out.
  "One scene that totally involved ad-lib was when Regina Hall was in the movie theater," Wayans says. "I put the cameras on her and told her to be obnoxious as she could possibly could be. She was."
  Wayans admits that his satire can get a little raunchy and raw at times, so much so that his parents walked out of a test screening of Scary Movie a few weeks ago. Wayans says "Scary Movie" is designed for the teen-age market, which is far less sensitive to unrefined sexual innuendo and blue sight gags.
  Wayans' younger brothers, Shawn and Marlon, wrote the script with several other writers -- an undertaking that took two years and a ton of rewrites. Wayans says Shawn and Marlon, who are in their twenties, trust each other's instincts on what material is funny and what isn't for their generation. Ultimately the decision of what goes and what stays in the movie falls on big brother Keenen.
  "I think when something is cut out of a movie," Wayans says, "it's rare that you cut out something that is really, really good. Usually what happens is that you screen all of it and then when the audience doesn't respond to it -- you cut out whatever is holding the story down. In rare instances you have to give up what you thought was a great scene, but you realize it didn't tell a story and in those cases DVD is great."
  Wayans says comedy, especially a satire of a popular movie, is hard to do, because of the audience's expectations.
  "Just making a good movie is hard to do," Wayans says. "Because we've seen so many films now, that in order to be good, you have to be at least on par with the best films that have preceded you. You just can't make any movie and it will be good now. This is a really a difficult time to be in films."
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