Why Hollywood won't cast the Wayans brothers anymore

The Wayans Brothers were a fixture of TV and movies for decades. Keenan Ivory Wayans created and starred on Fox's sketch comedy series In Living Color, and so did his siblings Damon, Kim, Shawn, and Marlon. When that series concluded, Keenan turned to directing Scary Movie and other hits, while Damon Wayans starred on TV shows such as My Wife and Kids. Shawn and Marlon became a successful film comedy duo, who most will remember best for starring in White Chicks and Little Man.

But while there was a time when TV and film fans couldn't go a week without coming across a member of the Wayans family, we just don't see or hear as much from this brood we used to. From crazy career moves and failed projects to off-color opinions and new priorities, here are a few reasons why Hollywood seemingly won't cast the Wayans Brothers anymore.

Their shtick got stale

After In Living Color ended, most of the Wayans migrated from TV to film and proceeded to dominate two parallel sub-genres: parody films and broad, "gimmicky" movies. 

In the former camp, there's the Scary Movie franchise. Keenan Ivory Wayans directed the first two very successful installments, which were co-written by and co-starred Shawn and Marlon Wayans. 

In the latter category, Shawn and Marlon were responsible for 2004's White Chicks — in which they play undercover FBI agents in "whiteface" as spoiled young rich women — and 2006's Little Man, wherein Marlon portrays a short felon posing as a baby. White Chicks and Little Man earned a respectable $70 million and $58 million at the box office, respectively, but audiences were no longer interested in the Wayans brand of comedy by the time Dance Flick was released in 2009 — it earned a mere $25 million.

Damon Wayans defended Bill Cosby and attacked his accusers

After being accused by many women of allegedly drugging and raping them, Bill Cosby's status as a beloved entertainer is summarily over. Damon Wayans may have done some damage to his own career when he weighed in on the Cosby situation during a 2015 radio interview on New York hip-hop station Power 105.1. Wayans said that if he were Cosby, he "would divorce my wife, wink-wink, give her all my money, and then I would go do a deposition. I would light one of them three-hour cigars. I'd have me some wine and maybe a Quaalude and I would just go off, because I don't believe that he was raping." 

Wayans suggested that Cosby was in relationships with all of his accusers, and that they called him out for sexual assault when they got offended that the elderly comedian couldn't "get it up" anymore. To put an even finer point on it, Wayans said Cosby's accusers were engaged in a "money hustle." 

They've seen that Cardi B video, and they like it

Despite being massively popular and introducing much of the world to the Wayans family and Jim Carrey, In Living Color doesn't get the respect afforded to other classic sketch comedy shows, such as Saturday Night Live. 

Rapper Cardi B sought to right that injustice with the video for "Finesse," an early '90s-esque collaboration with Bruno Mars. The clip faithfully re-creates memorable moments from ILC, including its paint-splattering opening sequence and show-closing live musical performances. 

Some Wayans family members have seen the music video, and they reportedly approve. Damon Wayans called it "dope," Marlon Wayans said it was "doooope as f***," and Kim Wayans thought it was "an amazing tribute" that made her get "emotional." 

What would have been even more dope? Cardi and Bruno giving the Wayans a career boost with a cameo in that vid.

The In Living Color reboot fizzled

In the wake of Cardi B and Bruno Mars' 2018 video, perhaps now would be a good time to give that In Living Color reboot another go. 

In 2012, Deadline reported that two In Living Color specials would air as a part of the FOX network's 25th anniversary slate of shows. Keenan Ivory Wayans was slated to return as an executive producer, but the cast would be all new, including performers Kali Hawk, Jermaine Fowler, Lilrel Howery, and Jennifer Bartels. 

But April 2012 came and went with now show, and then so did a tentative May 2012 air date. In January 2013, Wayans told the New York Post that In Living Color 2.0 wasn't happening. "The bar for In Living Color is so high that, if I didn't feel like we could sustain that, then I did not want to move forward," he said.

White Chicks 2? Sure, why not

Shawn and Marlon Wayans might best be known for their 2004 cinematic magnum opus White Chicks. The film skewered the mid-2000s rise of wealthy celebrities famous for being famous, particularly Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. It's a time capsule of its era, but it made $70 million at the box office and it's fondly remembered. So, does that mean there's actually a sequel to White Chicks on the way? 

Marlon Wayans told a fan on MTV's TRL (another revived, once-popular thing,) that it's possible. "I don't know, but there's been some rumblings happening. A lot of people want us to do it, so me and my brothers have been talking," Wayans said. "So if things go right we hope to do a White Chicks 2." 

But don't hold your breath. This isn't the first time another White Chicks has been in the works. It was announced in 2009, then scrapped, only for Wayans to drum up interest in the movie again in 2015, to no avail.

The bros hit the road

Unlike some other famous families, the Wayans don't need to participate in major Hollywood productions to make ends meet. Instead, they've had much success in the past just doing their own thing and working together to forge successful opportunities. 

For example, rather than signing up for a film franchise or a new TV series, the four major Wayans guys — Keenan, Damon, Shawn, and Marlon — went on a joint comedy tour in 2014. The tour was called, appropriately enough, The Wayans Brothers Tour, and it led the fabulous foursome to play theaters and casinos all across the United States. "We've all been doing standup — that's how we all started — and, over the years, we've just been too busy to do it all together," Keenen Ivory Wayans told New York Live at the time. "And now that we each have the time, we decided we want to go out and do this tour."

The family tour was apparently so successful that a year later, the brothers kicked off another Wayans comedy roadshow, once again featuring Shawn and Marlon as well as their nephew, Damon Wayans, Jr.

In 2018, Netflix released Woke-ish, Marlon Wayans' first-ever stand-up special.

A new sketch comedy show felt like 'warmed-over improv'

Damon Wayans has secured a long and successful career consisting of roles in various movies and sitcoms. His accomplishments in front of the camera are due, in large part, to In Living Color, on which he starred from 1990 to 1993. So, given that his comedic reputation was basically built on the funny series, it should come as no surprise that Damon would try to return to his roots. In 2006, he cannonballed back into TV sketch comedy with the series The Underground, but, unfortunately, the show didn't do too well.

Why audiences weren't excited about the show is perplexing, but maybe it's because they didn't even know that Damon's The Underground even existed in the first place. Airing on Showtime and marketed as "In Living Color on steroids," the series was canceled after just one 10-episode season.

Those that did see the series didn't sound all that impressed with it. In one review, Variety claimed The Underground "plays like warmed-over improv stew that labors way too hard to shock." Yikes.

It's all about a new batch of Wayans family members now

The reign of the Wayans lasted a long time. Damon and Keenan hit the scene in the '80s, In Living Color was a '90s TV hit, and the family's movies performed well in the early 2000s. That's a long time to be at the cultural forefront, and the world has moved on to a new batch of Wayans performers. 

Damon Wayans, Jr. starred on New Girl, as well as on the cult favorite Happy Endings and in the hit movie Let's Be Cops. Second-generation Wayans actors Craig Wayans (son of screenwriter Deidre Wayans) and Damien Dante Wayans (son of screenwriter Elvira Wayans) co-created and starred on a short-lived BET comedy series called, well, Second Generation Wayans. The Wayans cousins played fictionalized versions of themselves who had a hard time making it in the entertainment industry.

Kim Wayans pursued a 'Hodgepodge' of new work

Kim Wayans was the only Wayans sister to be part of the cast of In Living Color. She doesn't act too much anymore (in 2016 she guest-starred on New Girl, acting alongside her nephew, Damon Wayans, Jr.), but that's in part because she moved on a to a new career as a children's book author. With her husband, Kevin Knotts, Wayans wrote seven books in the Amy Hodgepodge series. They're about a 9-year-old girl who, after being homeschooled her whole life, attends class with other kids and has to navigate that new world. She also earns the nickname "Amy Hodgepodge" because of her proud, culturally diverse background: One grandparent is Japanese, another Korean, one African-American, and another Caucasian.

A Marlon Wayans comeback is brewing

Marlon Wayans, the youngest of the first-generation Hollywood Wayans siblings, has stayed busy in both movies and TV. He had a major role in the 2013 Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy buddy cop movie The Heat and, in 2017, he co-wrote and starred in Naked, a Netflix original film about a guy stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop … except this protagonist begins each day nude in an elevator just an hour before he's meant to tie the knot at his wedding.

In the summer of 2017, NBC aired Marlon's family sitcom, Marlon, in which he portrays a lovable yet immature father raising his two kids with his wife. According to Deadline, the series, which also stars actors Essence Atkins, Bresha Webb, Diallo Riddle, Notlim Taylor, and Amir O'Neil, is loosely based on Marlon's very own personal life.

Audiences and critics alike enjoyed it, and the show did well enough in the ratings department that NBC ordered a second season.