Marlon Wayans' Most Hilarious Roles: "White Chicks" To "Don't Be A Menace"

We're looking back at the prolific comedian's career and his 7 best comedic roles, from parodies to crime-dramas.

BYMike Fugere
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Marlon Wayans is a Hollywood titan in both comedy and drama. From serious roles in films like Requiem for a Dream to the slapstick insanity of A Haunted House there isn't much the legendary comedian can't tackle. But Wayans's true calling is in his nuanced comedic performances where he blends manic reactions with sharp-tongued dialogue. Let's look at seven of his best comedic roles where he flexes those chops.

7. Howard Gordon - The Curse of Bridge Hollow (2022)

The Curse of Bridge Hollow sees Marlon Wayans in a shockingly subdued comedic role. The film follows a family who’ve relocated from Brooklyn to a small New England town, encountering the supernatural. Specifically, Halloween decorations come to life and terrorize the town. Wayans leans into his role as a patriarch with warmth and gravitas but maintains a sense of manic hilarity. The Curse of Bridge Hollow proves that Marlon Wayans can easily bring his comedic sensibilities to a family-friendly affair.

6. Kenny Tyler - The 6th Man (1997)

In The 6th Man, Wayans portrays Kenny Tyler, a rising basketball star. When his brother and teammate, Antoine, suddenly dies on the court, Kenny and his teammates start losing their mojo. Their bad luck soon changes when Antoine appears as a ghost to his brother in the locker room. With the assistance of Antoine’s ghostly perks, Kenny and the team regain their winning streak. Marlon Wayans plays the bereaved brother well, but once he starts to be literally haunted, he turns in a fantastic comedic performance.

5. Seymour Stewart - Mo' Money (1992)

Mo’ Money follows the exploits of two brothers, Johnny and Seymour Stewart (played but Damon and Marlon Wayans, respectively). The brothers are low-level crooks who get into identity theft and are entangled in a web of criminal intrigue. The film wasn’t a critical darling upon release but was a box-office success and has since garnered cult status. Marlon Wayans delivered hilarious lines with frenetic energy in his first big outing as a supporting actor. He was able to sell the character of a crook whose scheming mind worked almost as fast as his mouth. While his limited screen time wasn’t paramount to the film, he stole every scene he stepped into.

4. Gawain MacSam - The Ladykillers (2004)

The Coen Brothers’ remake of the 1955 film The Ladykillers is an often-overlooked entry in their filmography. This is primarily due to the stellar cast of character actors as a band of misfit scam artists. Marlon Wayans plays Gawain MacSam, a janitor who acts as the inside man for the gang’s big heist in the film. Wayans delivers the Coen Brothers' dialogue with such confident bluster it sounds like foul-mouthed poetry. He is a highlight in a film packed to the brim with vibrant characters and scenery-chewing performances. Wayans’ take on the character of Gawain vacillates from crass to endearing right up until his final moments in the film.

3. Marcus Copeland/Tiffany Wilson - White Chicks (2004)

Look, White Chicks is not a great film. It hangs the workings of a solid sketch comedy premise on the bones of a feature-length film, with mixed results. However, Marlon Wayans's insane performance is nothing short of hilarious. Yes, it’s crass and often offensive, but something is charming about it. The film follows two Black FBI agents who go undercover as white women to collar a high-profile drug dealer. The reasons for this ruse are ridiculous and convoluted. Thankfully, the film is anchored by hilarious performances by Marlon and his brother Shawn. They push the limits of good taste with gross-out comedy, as well as commentaries on race and gender that don’t always hit their mark.

2. Shorty - Scary Movie 2 (2001)

The fact that Scary Movie 2 works as well as it does is nothing short of a miracle. The film was written and produced less than a year after the original’s release. You can certainly see those time constraints on the screen, for better and worse. While the film is a mixed bag, a few standouts remain hilarious the whole way through. Most notably, the character of Shorty, who Marlon Wayans reprised from the first film, kills it. Wayans seems just to be doing improv while inhabiting an insane stoner character, but he pulls it off.

1. Loc Dog - Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)

Don’t Be Menace… is a parody masterpiece. It’s also a snapshot of the cinema landscape at the time, lovingly poking fun at the deluge of “hood films” in the early nineties. It inspected the tropes found in classic films by directors like John Singleton, Spike Lee, and F. Gary Gray through a Mad Magazine lens. While there are plenty of standout comedic performances here, the most memorable is Marlon Wayans as the street-smart and eccentric Loc Dog. The character contains layers of jokes, from his wardrobe to how he mugs at the camera. Even if Loc Dog isn’t delivering jokes in the scene, he’s getting laughs.

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