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Television

Marlon, Shawn Wayans fondly remember John Witherspoon, their ‘second Pops’

Marlon Wayans
Actor-comedian Marlon Wayans has paid tribute to his late costar John Witherspoon.
(Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

A “broken” and “hurt” Marlon Wayans paid tribute to his “second Pops” John Witherspoon after the death of his “Wayans Bros.” costar Tuesday at age 77.

Despite Wayans’ sadness, however, the younger comic said on Instagram that he was “extremely grateful” that he spent five years of his life working with “the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man.”

On “The Wayans Bros.,” Witherspoon played wisecracking diner owner John Williams — affectionately known by his “Friday” movies moniker “Pops” — to brothers Marlon and Shawn Wayans. The comedy ran on the WB network (now the CW) for five seasons, from 1995 to 1999.

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Wayans, 47, called Witherspoon his “second Pops” and spoke kindly of the comic’s family, particularly his sons Alexander and JD, who essentially grew up on the “Wayans Bros.” set.

“They’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us,” he wrote. “Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got ‘all the keys’ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate.”

John Witherspoon, a comedian whose career started in 1977 and included projects like “Friday” and “The Boondocks,” dies at 77.

The actor then made good on his promise that anytime he wanted to laugh until he cried, he would rewatch (and re-post) clips from their wacky comedy. Wayans shared two such clips highlighting their over-the-top comedic chops on Wednesday.

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“I miss already.... hope [you’re] dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. ‘Pops pops sugar pops,’” he wrote.

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Later Wednesday, his brother Shawn Wayans also posted a tribute to the comedy vet.

“Man I cried myself to sleep last night just thinking about how much I’m going to miss you. You are one of the funniest, coolest, wisest dudes I ever met and joy to work with,” the elder Wayans wrote on Instagram.

“Thank you for all of the laughs and wisdom you shared with me and my brother throughout the years and also for helping us keep our cool during the Wayans Bros as we fought to make that show what it is,” he wrote.

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