“I feel like the Khloe Kardashian of the family.”
Damien Dante Wayans is lamenting his fate on his new BET dramedy “Second Generation Wayans,” where he plays a somewhat similar version of his acctual self, along with Craig Wayans and George Gore, who played Damon Wayans’ son on “My Wife and Kids” from 2001 to 2005.
The show debuts Tuesday, January 15 after 10:30 p.m. after “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” a spoof featuring Nick Cannon, Kevin Hart and J. B. Smoove, among others.
Their five most famous uncles and aunts – Kenan, Damon, Shawn, Marlon and Kim - have been comedy royalty for more than two decades. But their younger brethren are only now trying to make their mark on the scene.
Craig and Damien created and starred in the 2009 spoof film “Dance Flick.” On the fictional show, they are feeling like nothing had come out of it. “There’s a lot of pressure being a Wayans,” Damien says in the first episode, which also features cameos by Hart and Marlon Wayans, who is also an executive producer. (V-103’s new afternoon host and former “Rap City” host Big Tigger gets randomly name dropped, too.)
George on the show suggests they start their own production company so they can guide their own destiny. They’d have Craig do most of the writing, Damien direct and George produce. Tatyana Ali (”The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) plays their bright, ambitious assistant Maya who has her own aspirations.
In real-life, the trio did start a production company called Second Generation Entertainment in 2009, but it wasn’t George’s idea.
The show is not slapstick. In terms of production, storytelling and feel, it evokes HBO’s “Entourage.”
“I’m relentless, persistent, young, flashy and free,” Damien said on the set at EUE Screen Gems in Atlanta. (Most of the show is shot here though some exteriors were done in Los Angeles.). “I’m the rebel without a cause.”
“I’m more reserved. My approach to business is more about security,” Craig said.
George plays it more like the business guy who studies and watches the scene.
They create romantic relationships for the show as well. Damien has an up-and-down relationship with a girl played by Regina Hall. Craig on the show has a crazy ex-girlfriend and mother of his child (Letoya Luckett).
“We call it heightened reality,” said Gore.
The two Wayans grew up as close cousins. Once adults, Damien focused more on directing and the older Craig on writing. Craig became a regular writer for “My Wife and Kids,” later joined by Damien.
“Being a Wayans is both a gift and a curse,” Damien said. “This show shows all sides of it. You’d think it’s all about the gifts. Then you meet people that an uncle my have made fun of. Or your family members may have grudges with some people. It complicates things.”
“Being a Wayans does not guarantee you a job,” Craig added. “Even within the family, you have to prove yourself. There are a lot of unfunny Wayans. You just don’t see them.”
So doing their own thing makes life easier. In the case of “Second Generation Wayans,” “we can write it, produce it, direct it and star in it,” Damien said. “Every episode is rooted from a place of truth.”
“Second Generation Wayans,” 10 p.m. Tuesdays, BET