Shawn and Marlon Wayans to host MTV Video Music Awards

Wednesday, September 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK--Shawn Wayans pauses while writing "in-your-face" comedy sketches for the MTV Video Music Awards to say he isn't worried about something going wrong during a sketch. "My nightmare is that none of our sketches get put on."

Wayans and his brother Marlon _ siblings of comedian-director Keenen Ivory Wayans _ will co-host the awards, to be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on Thursday starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.

They've never hosted an awards show. But that shouldn't be a problem. In an interview, Wayans said he and Marlon are "psyched."

"When MTV asks you for its biggest show, it has got to be an honor," he said.

His favorites among the nominees are Eminem, Dr. Dre and Limp Bizkit.

Wayans isn't a musician himself, although he took trumpet lessons for a year in junior high school. "I quit. I didn't want my cheeks to blow out like Dizzy Gillespie's," he said.

When Wayans, 29, and Marlon, 18 months younger, were growing up in New York, they wrote comedy sketches and performed them for older brother Keenen when he came home from school.

"He was doing standup comedy in college. We always wanted to make him laugh. He was a tough guy to make laugh, but he used to laugh at a lot of our stuff, which encouraged us to keep working at it," Wayans said. "When I got to high school, I started doing standup myself. Marlon went to a performing arts high school for acting."

Keenen was the first member of the Wayans family to head for Hollywood, gaining bit parts in TV shows. Shawn and Marlon joined him in Los Angeles, where they appeared with brother Damon and sister Kim in Keenen's sketch comedy show "In Living Color." (The five other Wayans siblings and their parents aren't in show business. "We call them the producers," Wayans said.)

When they do comedy routines, Marlon is the crazy one while Shawn plays the straight man. "You can't have two people going 100 miles an hour or people will turn you off," Wayans explained. "I tone it down a little. When I'm by myself, I go 100 miles an hour. When I'm with him, I let him be the nut."

When asked if Marlon is funnier, Wayans replies diplomatically, "I'm more witty. He is more physical."

Wayans made his acting debut in Keenen's 1988 film, "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," a hip spoof of '70s blaxploitation films. He wrote and starred with Marlon in 1995's "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood," a spoof of coming-of-age-in-the-hood movies.

"Spoofs give you the most creative freedom," Wayans said. "You can take them anywhere. There are no rules. That's what I like about them. They're difficult to write but when you do it, it's fun."

The two brothers star in the current late-summer hit, "Scary Movie," which parodies teen-horror flicks. They were two of the four writers on the film.

"I watched every slasher movie of the last 25 years," said Wayans, including "The Omen," "The Shining," "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Scream."

"I try to watch every movie anyway," he said. "I love movies. I love going to the movies. I like to be in the midst of the audience and see how different kinds of audiences react. But I very rarely go to a matinee. I don't wake up until later in the afternoon. A matinee for me would be 8 o'clock at night."

He and Marlon also appeared in the defunct WB show "The Wayans Bros."

"It is deceased. We did five years and it ended two years ago. I participated in the writing of every episode," he said.

Now they are writing "Roaches," a cartoon movie they've sold to Warner Bros.

"Every bug inside this world represents a different race," Wayans said. "Roaches are black and wasps are white. Basically, it's an interracial love story between a roach and a wasp. It's kind of like a `West Side Story' with bugs."

"We're aiming for a PG13," he said. "It's going to be something children could watch and their parents won't be bored."