Shawn Wayans brings his standup act back to Improv in Schaumburg

Thursday, 23 November 2017, 06:40:05 AM. When it comes to Thanksgiving, comedian Shawn Wayans is reminded of all the crazy ways his mom used to stretch the leftovers for weeks afterward.

Considering that Shawn Wayans is spending this year’s long Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago (appearing at The Improv in Schaumburg, Friday through Sunday), the comedian and actor understandably thinks about food — but from two very different perspectives.

“Of course, since Chicago is such a great food town, I knew I’d be very well fed over this Thanksgiving period. But when it comes to that holiday, I always immediately flash back to when we were kids in New York,” said Wayans.

SHAWN WAYANS
When: Nov 24-26; times vary
Where: Improv Comedy Club, 5 Woodfield Rd, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg
Tickets: $33 (18+over)
Info: chicago.improv.com

“Since we grew up in the projects, our fridge was not all that full — most of the year,” Wayans continued. “But right before Thanksgiving, that always changed. It was the one time of the year when that fridge was full! My little brother and me would always keep peeking in the fridge, looking at all the pies and egg nog and stuff, just because we couldn’t believe how much food my Mom crammed in there. She’d keep yelling at us to ‘close that door!’ because we kept opening it up so much,” said Wayans, with a laugh.

“…While Thanksgiving was great, for the next three weeks we’d be eating nothing but leftovers. My Mom would come up with some crazy recipes for how to use everything up. NOTHING went to waste! We’d start with normal stuff like turkey Tetrazzini or sliced turkey sandwiches, but then it would go on and on. There’d be some kind of strange turkey stew, weird turkey mac and cheese, sweet potatoes repurposed into very unusual kinds of casseroles too. By the time it was over, we wouldn’t even think about getting a turkey sandwich — for months!”

The entertainer noted that his experiences growing up without a great deal of advantages, “did teach me something important I carry with me to today: Absolutely never to waste food, especially since you know there are lots of people who don’t have much — and there’s many people going hungry in our world today.”

As for his standup act, Wayans said he finds a lot of “funny, funny, funny things that happen in my life and the world to comment on in my show. It doesn’t take much to look out in the world in general to find funny stuff — and there’s lots more beyond Donald Trump! The world is so crazy today, so that gives us comedians a lot to work with.”

Wayans noted that the secret behind why he and his brothers work so well together, “really dates back to our Mom. She never let us fight, or at least tried to keep that from happening. She always immediately made us make up when we did fight as kids. Sometimes, she would threaten us, if she thought we were about to go at it — telling us that if we did fight, she’d force us to make up by kissing each other on the mouth! Since none of us EVER wanted to kiss our brothers on the mouth, it was a great barrier to fighting amongst us kids!”

One of the more successful joint projects created by the Wayans brothers — including Shawn’s brothers Keenan Ivory and Marlon Wayans — were the two “Scary Movie” projects. Asked if a third is in the offing, Shawn said, “I doubt it. … That doesn’t mean the end of our parody [films] run. It’s just I think we’re done with that particular franchise.”

Wayans also noted his fondness for performing stand-up in Chicago. “Thanks to Second City and all the other great comedy venues — which existed here long before they did in many places outside of New York City — Chicago audiences have a very sharp comedy sense. Chicago audiences get it. They are pretty sophisticated about comedy. They have it together, big time. In your town, its sports and comedy — and Chicago people get both things really well.”

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