At SBS VICELAND we believe you can’t have too much of a good thing.
This is why we aired almost a full day of a train sloooooowly crossing the desert. This is we managed to convince management it was a good idea to air The Fifth Element on repeat for 13 hours. Not once, but twice. And this is why right now SBS VICELAND has not one, but two laugh-out-loud sitcoms about a group of zany friends starring Damon Wayans Jr.
If you’ve watched Happy Endings or New Girl, you’ll know that Damon Wayans Jr is one of TV’s most charming, funny performers. For those of you who don’t know him yet, get on board the hype train. This is what you need to know about Damon Wayans Jr.
Damon Wayans Jr: Sitcom star
Something amah-zing happened to Wayans Jr in 2011 – he was cast as workaholic lawyer Brad Williams in the sitcom Happy Endings. At first everyone dismissed the show as a bit of a Friends wannabe with six friends (three girls, three guys) getting involved in various hijinks, which, to be fair, it kind of is. But very quickly Happy Endings proved it was a cut above – it’s a great show in its own right.
Even though Happy Endings was under-appreciated when it first aired, you want to spend time with these characters. The jokes are clever, and it’s genuinely funny. It’s why the show has an exceptionally loyal fan base who have spent years getting their friends to watch it. Like that old fellow in the first Star Wars movie, its death has only made Happy Endings’ fan support stronger.
By the end of the first season, it became clear it was destined to be seen as one of those brilliant but cancelled shows. It is understandable then that Wayans Jr went looking for another job.
Something amah-zing happened to Damon Wayans Jr in 2012. He was cast in the very funny sitcom New Girl as cocky former athlete turned fitness instructor Coach.
Watch episode 1 and you’ll see him. He’s one of the main guys:
When you watch episode 2, you’ll find something strange has happened. Coach has vanished.
What happened? Well, Happy Endings kept happening. Everyone thought the sitcom was doomed, but the TV gods intervened and it was given a second season. Meanwhile New Girl’s producers decided not to reshoot the pilot and went ahead without Coach from the second episode onwards.
Wayans Jr was back on TV as Brad Williams and everything was as the maker intended. Happy Endings solidified its fan base and scored a third season the year after. New Girl also launched and was an instant smash hit that would go on for seven seasons with new cast member Lamorne Morris (as Winston).
But this wasn’t the end of Wayans Jr’s association with New Girl.
Something amah-zing happened to Damon Wayans Jr in 2013. When Happy Endings was cancelled after its third season, the producers of New Girl saw it as an opportunity and added him back into the cast. He returned for four episodes, but because he’s Damon Wayans Jr, they kept him around for the next season and a half. Nearing the close of the fifth season, Coach was no longer a regular, but Damon Wayans Jr returned a bunch of times to make short appearances.
Damon Wayans Jr: Comedy royalty. Kind-of.
Based on his name alone, you probably realise that Damon Wayans Jr is the son of comedy actor Damon Wayans. Throughout the ’90s, Wayans was everywhere. Most notably he starred in the film The Last Boy Scout opposite Bruce Willis, and high-profile movies including Bulletproof, Major Payne, The Great White Hype and Celtic Pride. He also starred in sitcoms Damon and My Wife and Kids.
Wayans first broke out as a star in the iconic sketch comedy show In Living Color. Created by his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans, the show gave roles to other members of the Wayans family, Kim, Shawn and Marlon.
The spirit of In Living Color was in line with African–American sitcoms from the ’70s, but when it debuted on the Fox network in 1990, it was a wild contrast to the conservative tone of The Cosby Show – a comedy and cultural powerhouse at the time. So when it launched, viewers across the US paid attention. In Living Color was big, birthing not only the Wayans family as stars, but also introduced to the world Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier and Jennifer Lopez.
Following the end of In Living Color, the Wayans were known for creating films starring predominantly African–American casts like the Scary Movie films, Little Man, Blankman, White Chicks and a number of different sitcoms. None of these projects ever got the support of critics, but audiences embraced them, loving the big, broad comedies.
From In Living Color days onward, the sizable Wayans family have been regularly involved in each other’s projects; Wayans Jr worked throughout the ’00s on his father’s sitcom My Wife and Kids as a writer and occasional performer.
Wayans Jr claims there are about 60 members of his extended family.
Damon Wayans Jr: Tech Bro
In 2017 Wayans Jr co-founded and launched an app. Called Special Guest, it allows people to book performers. In a sense, it is kind of like AirBnB, but instead of a weekend getaway you’re booking people who can juggle.
Wayans Jr routinely plugs the app during media appearances. Just recently he was interviewed on finance streaming channel Cheddar pimping the app so that people can book performers virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You don’t have to go looking for Damon Wayans Jr on an app. He’s right here at your home of television, SBS. Happy Endings airs multiple episodes of Happy Endings on SBS VICELAND on Saturdays from 5.00pm.
Here’s episode 1 of Happy Endings:
And episode 1 of New Girl:
This week on The Playlist, the hit 2018 Irish novel turned iso-phenomenon 'Normal People', Fiona gets physical (from a distance) with 'PE with Kids' online sensation the ‘Body Coach’ himself Joe Wicks, we give 'Alien', 'The Shining' and 'Unorthodox' a spin in What We’ve Been Watching and offer up our iso-picks for SBS On Demand.