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Acting for it.

By Ray Pride

FEBRUARY 23, 1998:  Anyone who names a bad-taste comedy "Senseless" is asking for it. (Headline-writers across America: prepare for a quick surge of adrenaline that will pass for inspiration.) "Senseless" is a ramshackle, scattershot teen comedy, directed with just-do-it awkwardness by "Wayne's World"'s Penelope Spheeris. For her labor of love, check out "Decline of Western Civilization Part 3" later this year. But the highlight of lowlights on this particular day-job is the incessant mugging by Marlon Wayans, the youngest of the many-member performing clan. Wayans plays a college student trying to wangle his way into a job as an economist. After a dumb series of odd-jobs, he gets work as a guinea pig for an experimental drug that will heighten his senses by a factor of five. Wayans out-Jerry Lewises Jim Carrey at times, with a willingness to perform any gag. In conversation, the 25-year-old Wayans comes off as the nice guy, and he's willing to entertain comparisons to comics who came before him. "I don't mind going there. I don't mind committing. I mean, y'know, if you look at a guy like Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey commits," he says. "That's why he gets paid the big bucks. Because a lot of people think about, y'know, I wonder if I could do that. But he does it. That's what it's about. I commit. I look to [Carrey], Richard Pryor, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy and, of course, my brothers." For Wayans, "Senseless"' lowbrow approach worked. "I be cracking me up!" He laughs. "When I watch my movies, I call 'me,' 'him.' Like it's not me. I go, 'He's pretty funny!' He'll do something funny that makes me laugh. This movie, I watched it and he made me laugh. The ass-scratching scene was a funny scene." But he expects to eventually go beyond ass-scratching. "I wanna do what Robin Williams does. He can make you laugh or he can make you cry. That's the great performer. This movie, I like the fact that I go from high to low but mostly for the funny!" And as the youngest in a family of comedians, he's aimed to get paid for being funny. "Well, when I was a kid," Wayans deadpans, "I thought about doing porn." He laughs. "Nah, I always wanted to be an actor, that's all I see myself doing. People think when you're a celebrity you get up in the morning and you put on your dark shades and you sign autographs then go home and sleep. It's work. I wake up, work on the TV show, come home about five o'clock, write until about nine, play a little Playstation. Same thing. That is the Hollywood ethic. Television, movies, it's all work." (Ray Pride)


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