Fresh off back-to-back dramatic turns in On the Rocks and Respect, Marlon Wayans returns to his comedy roots with his latest stand-up special, Marlon Wayans: You Know What It Is. The one-hour special finds the comic explores his fears on stage, including the greatest one that is the realization that his bad decisions are what tore his family apart, and he sums up his way through self-awareness with the phrase “You know what it is.
Wayans signed a deal with HBO MAX to provide content, and this special is the first offering to come from the agreement. Wayans filmed the outdoor special in Miami this year in the spring. He begins the special with a joke about outie belly buttons. The punchline is a nice setup for Wayans to link belly buttons to the fools who stormed the US Capital on January 6th. Marlon then finds time to talk about his daughter going to the prom, his sexual escapades, and even internet trolls which he says proudly, “I am an Internet troll.”
Some of the jokes work better, but a few do not. Honestly, a few fall flat or go on too long for my tastes. Wayans is a gifted comedian, particularly in the moments of this special where he imitates his famous brothers or showing off elements of physical comedy. The jokes that fall flat include Marlon’s jokes about his kids having sex and what his reaction might be.
Mind you, Wayans is quick to throw out a disclaimer after each joke but considering Wayans’s age, they did not land for me. Sans the inappropriate material, I think had Wayans and his team gotten together and presented these jokes in a variety show format, the result might have a more lasting effect.
I never got a chance to see Marlon’s stand-up anytime he would travel to the DMV for a performance. As I do with most comics, I purposely avoided watching many clips of Marlon to go in with a fresh viewpoint. Based on his last two film appearances, I hoped that Marlon would have a career shift change. Something similar to Bill Murray’s from the top of the century focusing more on drama and intelligent comedy. Unfortunately, Marlon Wayans: You Know What It Is does little to highlight the true talent of Wayans.
That said, comedy is subjective, and while this particular special was not my cup of tea, I do advise viewers to check it out and form their own opinion.
Final Grade C-