Wayans makes Pittsburgh laugh

Embattled golfer Tiger Woods, President Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and women were topics of conversation for funnyman Damon Wayans.

The comedian-turned-actor performed at the Improv April 22-25.

“I connect to my audiences by being relevant and engaging them in my act. It starts with hello,” said Wayans, 49.


That’s exactly what he did.

His set, which lasted longer than an hour, had the audience doubled over in laughter as he tackled such universal subjects as traveling to other countries and being proud to be an American and the ever- changing stages of life.

“Life is like a roller coaster. From one to 21 it’s slow and then you go over the crest of the hill when you’re 21 and its fun when you go through one loop and you’re 30 and you’re in your 30s and life is a whole quick story and then you go through another loop and when you come out you’re in your 40s then you go through another loop and you’re in your 80s, you’re shaky and someone shows you a picture of yourself at 21 when you were happy. That’s life,” Wayans said.

The comedian not only gets his material from current events, he also gleans jokes from his life.

Wayans was born in New York and raised in California. He is the fourth oldest of nine children. He got his start in comedy in 1982 after watching older brother, Keenen, do stand-up at the New York Improv where he worked as a doorman.

“Keenan would tell jokes and I would suggest things to him and he would use it and get laughs,” Wayans recalled. Once he noticed that his jokes were getting laughs, Damon knew he had found his calling.

“It was like smoking crack. Its better than sex. It lasts longer. What I like most about stand up is the instant gratification. It makes me know that I’m not crazy,”Damon said.

After cutting his teeth on various comedy stages across the country, he decided he wanted to get into movies and television.

He joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for one season—1985-1986. Soon after he landed bit parts in “Beverly Hills Cop,” opposite Eddie Murphy; “Roxanne,” opposite Steve Martin; “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and “Earth Girls Are Easy.” Wayans other films included “Punchline” and “Colors.”

Audiences really began to take notice of the versatile star’s talent with the comedy show “In Living Color,” created and hosted by his brother Keenan.

Damon became a household name through characters Homey D. Clown, the disabled handyman and the flamboyantly gay film critic Blaine Edwards from the skit “Men on Film.”

“In my family we had to be in the house at 6 p.m., we spent so much time together that we became each other’s best friend and we were sharpened by each other. All the kids were programmed that if someone is down you have to stomp them,” said Wayans, a divorced father of four.

He has appeared in “My Wife and Kids,” “Blank­man,” “Marmaduke” and most recently, “Dance Flick.” He can be seen in the action comedy “The Other Guy,” opposite Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is scheduled to be released in August.

When he isn’t making people laugh, Damon enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. A recent trip to Paris drove him to write a book.

“Red Hats” will be released in early May.

“The book is about a 65-year-old woman who has a cancerous relationship with her husband who’s giving her grief and she tells him that she wants him to die in his sleep and he does. Her relationship with the Red Hat Society helps her find love again. It’s like ‘Sex in the City’ for old biddies. Just because a person is older doesn’t mean they don’t want to be beautiful and lovable and loved.”

Damon said he wants readers to learn that words can kill people and you have to be careful what you say.

He hasn’t abandoned his television career. He is currently working on a show possibly for ABC about an actor who is the number one dad and everyone in America loves him but at home he’s the worst dad in the world. “Think Charlie Sheen,” he said.

Like Damon followed in his older brother’s footsteps, his eldest son, Damon Wayans Jr., 27, is following his father. The younger Wayans served up laughs, as the opening act to the sold out Pittsburgh crowd and proved that the humorous apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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