Jalen Rose and Marlon Wayans chat about comedy, free speech

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By Dan Sears

It’s pretty darn difficult not to laugh after seeing the legendary Marlon Wayans on-screen or stage.

The Manhattan-raised comedic genius – one of many talented individuals in his family – has been cracking smiles since the late 1980s on TV and in hilarious movies. Recently, Wayans launched a stand-up tour across America and Canada – catch him in Newark, New Jersey (Aug. 11 and 13) and Bensalem, Pennsylvania (Aug. 12).

This week on “Renaissance Man,” the illustrious Wayans brother has an ultra-important message – you are still allowed to be funny in 2023!

“I’m raised to tell jokes and I will never fear telling my jokes,” Marlon told me with passion in his voice, also giving cancel culture a huge heckle offstage

“Most of the people on social media with these [negative] opinions aren’t even real people …They’re trying to strip us of the very thing that makes our country special: the freedom of speech.”

Recently, Marlon used comedy to address the senseless violence and brawl at an Alabama dock which caught the nation’s attention. It’s something he spoke in detail about on this week’s episode – along with negative reaction to his own commentary on the incident.

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“I think social media messed up socializing and we’ve got to get back to laughing and finding reasons to laugh and stop being so damn sensitive,” he said. “All we’re doing is filling our airwaves, feeling out our kids with fear and hate – there’s no laughter and love. The only thing that’s going to bring us together is humor.” 

Marlon is even worried about the direction free speech is moving toward in America. 

He said it’s time to take it back – here and now.

“Sooner or later, they’re going to take away the First Amendment. We’re all going to have to think alike,” Marlon said.

Marlon Wayans emphasized the importance of free speech and comedy while speaking with Jalen Rose this week.
Marlon Wayans emphasized the importance of free speech and comedy while speaking with Jalen Rose this week.

“People are going to get canceled. ‘You can’t think like this.’ What kind of society do we live in? … It’s OK to laugh at things. I laugh my way through life and those that want to live in drama, y’all can find the drama and the tears while I find these jokes,” he said. 

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Marlon isn’t kidding when he says the power of awesome humor has gotten him through harsh moments. 

“Comedy saved my life a lot of times,” he said. “[Once before] I went onstage, I found out my dad died and I didn’t cancel the show … I got a standing ovation and when I [finally] let the audience know that my dad passed, I broke down on the stage.”

Like in his own case, Marlon – who said he’d be a lawyer if not a comedian – believes many more people can use humor, not negativity, to cope with life’s hardships in a way that connects them to more love.

The message is simple, America. Just laugh more!

“Our goal is always to make our jokes bring people together …The people we make fun of laugh the loudest,” Marlon said. “We all live here in this country – mostly in harmony – laughing and making fun of each other.”

Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before transitioning into a media personality. Rose executive-produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, is the author of the best-selling book “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker and co-founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.

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