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Posted under: News Technology

Actor Damon Wayans Jr. Develops App That Brings Entertainment To Your Backyard

Special Guest puts local entertainers for hire at your fingertips.

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The hunt for decent entertainment for your events may become a little less of a headache. At least that’s what actor and comedian Damon Wayans Jr. and his partner Kris Jones are hoping for with their newly-developed app Special Guest.

The on-demand app allows anyone, anywhere to discover and hire live entertainment on demand. Wayans and Jones introduced the app on Planet of the Apps, a television series co-produced by Apple and Propagate.

Planet of the Apps is a new weekly series about apps and their creators, featuring advisers Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, will.i.am and Gary Vaynerchuk. The show is basically The Voice meets Shark Tank, giving participants 60 seconds to give an elevator pitch in hopes of gaining a coach to support the app. The 10-episode series debuted on June 6 and has new episodes exclusively on Apple Music every Tuesday.

By the end of their pitch, Wayans and Jones successfully secured will.i.am as their coach for the show.

Photo: Planet of the Apps
Photo: Planet of the Apps

According to the website, Special Guest is beneficial for consumers and entertainers. The app will eliminate the problem thousands of entertainers have with securing work on a regular basis and simplify the process for consumers looking to find and book entertainment for events hosted anywhere, including their backyards and other non-traditional venues.

Wayans, who plays Coach on the FOX series New Girl, said he thought about developing the app after an open mic event in Los Angeles where he heard a performance by a local musician and thought about how some really talented acts don’t have representation who will make sure they’re always working. Coming from a family of entertainers, Wayans said he knows there are comedians, musicians and other talent who sometimes struggle to find work.

“I’m a live entertainer, and there are a lot of talented people out there,” Wayans said. “I wanted to create something that will help other entertainers, not just comedians, but you can find musicians, magicians and even poets to perform.”


Jones said he handled the technical part of developing the app after he and Wayans started working together a year ago.

“With this app, people will be able to communicate with different entertainers within the app and like Uber, they can pay for the service using the app,” Jones explained. “It’s a lot more affordable than people think. This is an opportunity for everyone to experience live entertainment.”

Special Guest is available for all iOS users, and see Planet of the Apps exclusively on Apple Music.

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Ray Evans is the Blavity weekend editor. She's a South Carolina native by way of Miami, FL, and a TV and social media junkie. You can often find her asleep in front of the TV or with her nose in a book.
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