Why does Marlon Wayans like to perform in Baltimore?

“Real likes real.”

The actor and comedian, fresh off the release of his latest stand-up special “Marlon Wayans: Good Grief” on Amazon Prime, is already on the road again performing all-new material across the country. But he wanted to spend his holiday weekend in Charm City.

“Baltimore always shows up and I always have a good time here. I went to school in D.C., at Howard University, so I love this area because it’s full of Black people, and even the white people over there are real cool,” Wayans said with a laugh.

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The last name Wayans has long been a household name in comedy. Marlon, the youngest of 10 siblings, has appeared in multiple projects with his famous family, including “In Living Color,” the sketch comedy series created by his brother Keenen, and movies like “Scary Movie” and “White Chicks” with his brother Shawn. Which is why it may be surprising that the 51-year-old, who will have five shows Friday through Sunday at the Baltimore Comedy Factory, only really started doing standup in 2018.

“I think I was fearful in that when you do stand-up comedy, it’s about telling stories about things that happened, right? And for me it’s like, what stories do I have to tell if six other people are already doing jokes about our life?” he said during a Zoom interview.

But in “Good Grief,” which debuted last month, he did just that, honoring both of his late parents in their hometown of Harlem. That meant being truly vulnerable — in comedic fashion, of course. That openness is in keeping with Wayans’ recent aims as he has publicly spoken about his experience with depression and the importance of mental health.

“Everybody is dealing with mental health. I don’t care what race you are, we all have trauma that we haven’t dealt with,” he said. “We all have these things that we don’t pay attention to. We think healing is moving on and sometimes the reality of that is you don’t know the damage that you do to yourself when you’re too strong to cry or too strong to talk about it. ‘Good Grief’ allowed me to understand my process of feeling. I want people to know it’s not just cracking jokes, but it helped me heal and I’m still healing. I will forever be healing from the loss of my parents. The most vulnerable place for me is the stage.”

He’s making moves offstage, too. Wayans now has a cannabis partnership with Dr Green NFT, headed by wealthy businessman Maximillian White. Wayans was happy to hear about Gov. Wes Moore pardoning more than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions in Maryland because “that’s a lot of young Black and Hispanic people getting out of jail and as they should.”

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“Cannabis actually has been proven to help with anxiety and pain relief,” he said. “I’m not telling the world, ‘Hey, you need to smoke and stay high.’ You need to live in a reality, but if you want to take a little vacation and you want to, you know, smoke something or you’re being creative and trying to contribute something great to society, whether that be art or something good-natured, then do you for sure.”

While Wayans has made his own name in Hollywood and shown his versatility with roles in more serious projects like the upcoming Jordan Peele-produced “Him,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Respect” and “Air,” comedy is still deeply important to him. “I’m raw and real on the stage,” he said, which audiences pick up on ― especially in Baltimore.

“If you ain’t funny, they ain’t gonna like it. It’s no patience in Baltimore,” Wayans said. “They want the jokes and I got them.”