KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This weekend, comedian Marlon Wayans will perform at The Comedy Club of Kansas City, and club owner Dustin Kaufman said having a big name like the television and movie star perform during the COVID-19 pandemic is a good sign business will improve for live venues in 2021.
"Marlon Wayans is a great way to start off the new year,” Kaufman said.
Wayans himself is eager to hit the stage again. He said he’s only performed a handful of times over the past year.
“You realize what an addiction to making people laugh you have when you have to take this break,” Wayans said during a Zoom interview from his Los Angeles home.
The comedian, made famous for roles in “Scary Movie” and “White Chicks,” said his jokes this weekend will steer clear of the pandemic.
“There’s only but so many pandemic jokes you want to tell," he said. "You want people to just remember life and laugh about life. Things that happen not pandemic related because there is life outside of this pandemic."
Kaufman will have up to 130 people in attendance at each of Wayans’ performances this weekend. The crowd size is down from the more than 250 he normally can accommodate because of adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Whatever we can do to make people more comfortable we’ve done,” Kaufman said. “It’s a responsibility to be one of the only live venues open in Kansas City and we do take that responsibility very seriously.”
Kaufman said he’s been putting on shows since last May. He hopes big names like Wayans continue to take the stage in 2021. His one worry is whether Kansas City, Missouri, will extend its curfew of 10 p.m. for bars and restaurants. The restriction is set to expire later this month. He said at his venue people sit at tables and do not interact.
“Nobody is clamoring around the bar, they’re not thee-deep with no masks on," Kaufman said. "When the show’s over, they go home."
Wayans said while in Kansas City, he’ll eat barbecue. The Pittsburgh Steelers fan also said he’s in awe of Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“He’s doing all sorts of tricks,” Wayans said. “You can’t bring him down. And he throws from over there to over there, from behind the back. Is he a Globetrotter or a quarterback?”
Aside from performing at comedy clubs, Wayans looks forward to filming movies again. The Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” will come out later this year. Wayans plays Franklin’s first husband in the film, the first villain the comedian has ever played.
Tickets to Wayans’ six performances over the next four days are available on the Comedy Club of Kansas City’s website.
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