There’s an art form to being a judge on a televised talent show — it doesn’t always mean speaking your mind.
At least that’s what Marlon Wayans tells EW about his role as a guest judge for the third week of judge cuts on Tuesday’s installment of America’s Got Talent.
“Sometimes you see people and just want to go, ‘Look, you suck. Give up hope.’ But you can’t, because everybody has a dream and a talent, and you have to nurture that talent the best you can. So your responsibility as a judge, even in the worst-case scenario, to at least give somebody some kind of encouragement,” he tells EW.
This judging stint wasn’t too much of a departure from the actor/comedian’s usual gig as host of NBC’s celebrity talent contest I Can Do That, “Although I’m not a judge, I’m a host, it’s all about getting people to have a good time. That’s what television is, it’s entertainment,” with Wayans bringing his signature brand of humor to AGT. And his performing-arts school background makes him no stranger to criticism … or strange talents.
“We all have a talent, and it’s good to know that you have a place that you don’t have to feel weird about whatever God-given talent you got. If you can burp the ABCs, that’s a talent. You could fart the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ hey, that’s a talent.”
As much fun as Wayans had, don’t expect to find him in the judge’s chair full-time anytime soon.
“It’d be an easy transition and it’d be a lot of fun to do, it’s something I would consider. The only thing is, I think people would have a hard time knowing who was me and who was Nick Cannon. I’d be like, ‘I’m the one without the Mariah tattoo.’”
And how did he get along with the rest of the show’s judges?
“They were all friendly, they all welcomed me in. It was funny, because I think I caught the hang of it because at times Howie [Howard Stern] and Howie Jr. [Howie Mandel] would look at me and go, ‘You should do this. You’re actually pretty good, I think you found your calling.’”
Though one particular judge may have been a little friendlier than others.
“I’ve known Howard Stern for a while. I’ve done his show before, and he always asks those biting questions that nobody tends to actually ask you, like he keeps asking me, ’Who’s the richest one in your family? How much money do you make?’”
Of all the acts that graced the stage during Wayans’ time, who do you think impressed him the most? If you guessed a little girl doing her best Karate Kid impression, you’re right.
“I saw this little girl do karate, and it was one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen. It was awesome, she was unbelievable. I was like, ‘That’s one little baby in the park that a pervert in a white van wants to leave the hell alone.’”
You can catch Marlon Wayans on the second season of I Can Do That, and in his upcoming parody film Fifty Shades of Black, coming out Jan. 29.