Damon Wayans continues to channel “Hey Mon’s!” Mr. Hedley, a West Indian character he played on “In Living Color,” who scoffed at anyone who worked less than two jobs.
“I’m a comedian, writer, producer, father, grandfather and app maker,” Wayans laughed. It’s the former gig that will bring him to Cobb’s Comedy Club in SF Nov. 6-9, and the latter that will see him moderating a panel about global reach for mobile apps at the Samsung Developer Conference this month.
Wayans brought to life such characters as Mr. Hedley, Homey D. Clown, Handi Man and Head Detective on the ‘90s Fox sketch show “In Living Color,” and he’s been on the stand-up stage for more than 30 years. When trying to take a version of “In Living Color” online back in 2008, Wayans’ creative side took a blow.
“I went to my first convention, and they were talking about entertainment and how they were going to monetize content donations. They’re viewing what I do as a donation, and they’re going to make money off it,” he said. “That made me sick to my stomach. I needed to create tools to help create the content, because creating the content has little value.”
Wayans calls his app Diddeo a “pocket studio” where users can give their videos a professional makeover. With Smart phones able to produce hi-res video, Wayans calls Diddeo the “Rolls Royce of video creation.” In fact, he’s looking to launch a sketch comedy show using Diddeo, possibly with his son, Damon Wayans Jr., who’s having a great year with a starring role in the hit film “Let’s Be Cops.”
“It would me against the world, challenging the online community to do a sketch or music video parody,” Wayans said.
He’s also got FlickDat, an app to replace the paper business card.
“You can change all your contacts into business cards. You can add take a photo, make that your background, add a photo on top of that and add video to your business card,” Wayans said.
Wayans also spent a season on “Saturday Night Live.” He thinks when Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s hit sketch show “Key and Peele” hit, they’re really funny. But, he said since Dave Chappelle left his show, the void has yet to be filled.
“We’ve almost gone backward, if you think about Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and the doors they knocked down. Those doors have been put back up,” he said. “You can’t talk about race. You can’t talk about homosexuals. You can’t talk about politics. What can you talk about? There was a time when this country would laugh at itself.”
Wayans would love for his brother, Keenan Ivory, and Fox to work out the details to resurrect the groundbreaking “In Living Color,” if even for a one-off special.
“There’s still so much comedy in the world to be had,” he said. “We need to hold up a mirror.”
Visit cobbscomedyclub.com for more info on Damon Wayans shows.
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.