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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU roars with laughter: Marlon Wayans live

Ryanne Sandifer
Marlon Wayans takes the stage Thursday for a free comedy show exclusive to NIU students at the Carl Sandburg Auditorium in the Holmes Student Center. The CAB sponsored event, featuring the “Scary Movie” and “White Chicks” actor, was sold out before the day of the event. (Ryanne Sandifer | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Marlon Wayans, the youngest out of 10 siblings from the Wayan legacy, hosted a sold-out show Thursday at the Holmes Student Center. Wayans needed no introduction as he has been in countless projects such as “The Wayans Bros,” “Scary Movie,” “Little Man” and “White Chicks.” 

At the show, Wayans discussed having done shows in Chicago previously but said it was his first time doing a show in DeKalb.

As the venue began to fill up with students, the anticipation of the crowd only grew. Although there was a delay, doors opened at 6 p.m. with the show expected to start at 7 p.m. After what seemed like an eternity, students finally stopped sleeping, checking texts or emails on their phones as everyone’s ears perked up as the music got louder in the auditorium.

Fifty minutes went by as the excitement of the crowd only got more intense as surprise comedian D.C. Ervin opened for Wayans for about 10 minutes before Wayans went on. It was not publicized for Ervin to open for Marlon, but it was a nice surprise and definitely warmed the crowd back up after having to wait an hour. 

During his set, Wayans spoke about his children and talked about the differences in how life was for him when he was their age along with how life is very different now. He talked about how he supports his children when it comes to whatever field they’re entering.

“Don’t be second best, be the best,” Wayans said. 

Wayans has two sons named Kai and Shawn whom he shares with Angelica Zachary. Wayans spoke about his son Kai who is transgender and his own transition as a father. He talked about overcoming the grief of what it felt like to lose a daughter but gain a son. He explained he felt he was going through the stages of grief such as denial.

“I felt like a Karen,” Wayans said. 

Wayans explained his desire to have two sons but was gifted with a daughter and a son initially– and later on, ended up having two sons. Marlon discussed the importance of family and love.

“Love people for who they are,” Wayans said.

Wayans commended not only his son Kai but commended those who were brave enough to be themselves unapologetically. He admitted his own struggles with coming to terms with his only daughter transitioning but reminded the crowd unconditional love, unbridled acceptance and God are the three things needed to navigate through life with family.

Wayans also touched on cancel culture, stating the algorithm feeds us negativity. He explained life was more fun when phones weren’t around and people are more sensitive now than ever.

“I don’t think that came from the kids, that came from social media,” Wayans said.

He acknowledged the importance of living in the moment and not letting technology, such as our phones, take over our lives. Knowing when to hold onto things and when to let things go is important, he mentioned.

“Embrace the gifts, s—t out the rest,” Wayans said.

From having a surprise showing from D.C. Ervin to a long-awaited showing from Wayans himself, guests were excited to see him and could nearly contain their excitement. Wayans having been a part of many successful projects only got the crowd more excited when he started mentioning how he felt about some past projects. To the surprise of the audience, Wayans disclosed  one of his least favorite projects was “Little Man.” By the end of the show, all was forgiven and forgotten about the delay because of the many laughs Wayans and Ervin got out of the crowd.

Students talk in the audience as they wait for the Marlon Wayans event to start Thursday. Wayans performed to a sold out show in the Carl Sandberg Auditorium. (Ryanne Sandifer | Northern Star)

Students were allowed the opportunity to join a raffle and receive VIP tickets to the event by posting and sharing a post. As well as having Campus Activities Board members around campus to ask students a question related to Marlon in order to receive VIP tickets guaranteeing a meet and greet along with a photo with Wayans plus appetizers.

Christian Barraza, a freshman computer science major, was one of the first winners from the raffle after learning from a friend via Instagram. Serenity Deida, a freshman acting major, disclosed that she had seen the post about the raffle online.

The two explained that they both entered in the raffle by sharing posts and tagging each other. Once Barraza won, he was allowed to bring a guest, so Deida joined them. VIP guests were originally scheduled to have a meet and greet with Wayans before the show but due to time conflicts, guests got that experience at the end of the night.  

“Honestly, it was worth it, it was an amazing show and I really respect him as a person,” Barraza said. 

Wayans said the audience understood his point of view because of their own strong opinions and experiences. Wayans reveled in the crowds reactions as he performed his gig. Having college students who are familiar with Wayans past projects allowed the audience to connect more with the comedian.

“I think a lot of colleges thought that the students were too sensitive – I feel like social media influenced this generation and made them believe that the kids today don’t like to laugh,” Wayans said. He also revealed NIU is the first college he’s performed at in about a year or so. 

It was an entertaining night from having a surprise showing from Ervin to Wayans. The comedian urges those interested in comedy to not only be a great comedian but to become a great storyteller.

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