Keenen Ivory Wayans saw that there was a huge hole in the comedy world and felt that minority comedians were unrepresented. He saw this opportunity and ran with it. Fresh off his success from Hollywood Shuffle and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Keene pitched the idea to Fox execs and they loved it.
In April of 1990, ‘In Living Color’ was born. The show was super New York (even though it was filmed in LA) with fast paced, exciting skits that were hilarious. The series took a bold move when they aired a live episode to counter CBS’s coverage of Super Bowl XXVI… The episode ended up being the all-time highest rating episode of In Living Color. Take that NFL.. The results were in and the show was a resounding success!
Keenen had essentially created a black SNL. He literally put his family to work, giving Damon, Kim, Shawn and Marlon their big breaks. Aside from the Wayans, the show catapulted Jaime Foxx, Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier and Tommy Davidson into Hollywood stardom. The show was so well-rounded, it even included Jennifer Lopez as one of ‘The Fly Girls’ being choregrapher by none other than Rosie Perez. Guest stars included Patrick Ewing, Tupac Shakur, Heavy D, Rodney Dangerfield and many more.
In the first two seasons, the sketch comedy’s ratings were off the charts, even earning a rare perfect score on the Nielson scale. Everyone has their favorite skits. Personally, mine were Homey The Clown, The Homeboy Shopping Network and Fire Marshall Bill.
In`93 and `94, the ratings started to dip. And by the 1994/1995 season, it was reported that there were a lot of fighting often over creative differences. In `95 the show went on without Kennen and was not well received. At that point, most of the comedians had major movie deals and were too busy for ‘In Living Color’.
I guess all good things must come to an end. The legacy lives on through syndication, usually on FX.
What was your favorite skit?