In Living Color!
"Homey don't play dat!" — Homey D. Clown
"Mo' Money, Mo' Money MO' MONEY!" — Homeboy Shopping Network
"LEMME SHOW YA SOMETHIN'!" — Fire Marshal Bill
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Sketch comedy show created by Keenan Ivory Wayans and starring many Wayans Brothers (And the Wayans Sister!) that aired on Fox in the early 1990s. The series is largely known as the launching pad for the careers of Jim Carrey
, Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier, and Tommy Davidson as well as Jennifer Lopez
and Carrie Ann Inaba
, who were part of the show's "Fly Girl" dancers.
The series was largely seen as Saturday Night Live
for the black and Hispanic set (since SNL
didn't have a lot of black cast members at the time and wouldn't get a Hispanic cast member until 1998, with Horatio Sanz), which featured hip-hop and R&B musical acts. The series spawned several popular characters, most notably the ex-con clown Homey D. Clown (Damon Wayans), the flamboyantly gay film critics for Men on Film (Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier), Abhorrent Admirer
Ugly Wanda (Jamie Foxx), and Fire Marshal Bill (Carrey), a masochistic fire safety official who always hurts himself and destroys buildings while giving safety lessons.
Unfortunately, the edgy comedy of the series eventually brought down the wrath of the network executives upon it, and the Wayans family ended up leaving the series. The show ultimately was cancelled after five seasons, freeing the show's breakout stars to go on to varying degrees of success in film, TV, and stand-up comedy.It was scheduled to return
in 2012, but the pilot was said to be so bad that FOX is holding off on the show until it can either be retooled and made better, shipped to another channel, or scrapped.
Not to be confused with the funk-metal band Living Colour
This show contained examples of the following:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Jamie Foxx's Ugly Wanda.
- Bag of Holding: Wanda was implied to carry one of these, considering her ability to produce almost any item someone might ask for at any given time from her purse- up to and including cans of gasoline.
- Camp Gay: The critics from Men on Film — though they also examine books, television, art, vacation...
- Catch Phrase: "Homey don't play that", "Lemme show ya somethin'!", among many, many others.
- Calhoun Tubbs always punctuates his songs with "Aaahhhhh haaaaaaaa!"
- Chez Restaurant: Chez Whitey's.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Candy Cane towards Jurassic Benny.
- Clip Show: Some best-of episodes, plus an all-Hilarious Outtakes show.
- Crossover: Some of In Living Color's cast members have hosted Saturday Night Live (or have some connection to it):
- Jim Carrey: Originally auditioned to be a cast member for the 1980-1981 season and the 1985-1986 season (those, along with the 1994-1995 season, are considered SNL at its worst). Despite this, Carrey has hosted SNL twice: in 1996 (the last episode of season 21 [1995-1996 season]) and in 2011 (season 36 [2010-2011 season]; the first new episode of 2011), both of which have been named the best episodes of their respective seasons.
- David Alan Grier: Hosted SNL in the 1995-1996 season [season 21] (this episode became famous for a sketch called "Wake Up and Smile," about morning show hosts who turn savage after their teleprompter breaks and they find themselves incapable of ad-libbing) and in its 1996-1997 season [season 22].
- Jamie Foxx: Foxx hosted a season 25 (1999-2000) episode (the first new episode of the 21st century) and hosted again 12 years later on December 8, 2012.
- Jennifer Lopez: Hosted a season 26 episode (2000-2001) and a season 35 episode (2009-2010). Is the only Hispanic celebrity to be a host and musical guest for two separate episodes. The first time she hosted had a sketch in which the In Living Color Fly Girls (all played by SNL cast members) visit her and tell her she lost her roots ever since she became famous.
- Damon Wayans: Was a feature player for SNL during its 11th season (1985-1986); got fired after playing a cop character as a Camp Gay (the voice of which he would use later for his "Men on Film" character) in retaliation for Lorne Michaels and the writers not giving him any decent roles in sketches. Despite this, Wayans came back to do stand-up on the last episode of season 11 (which was slated to be the last episode of the entire series because of how bad it was) and hosted an episode in another season that was plagued with Seasonal Rot: season 20 (1994-1995 season). The episode Wayans hosted brought back two of his recurring In Living Color characters (Anton Jackson, the homeless wino and Blaine Edwards from "Men on Film." David Alan Grier also appeared as Antoine Merriweather from the same sketch).
- Depraved Kids' Show Host: Damon Wayans' Homey D. Clown (and later, Candy Cane [Alexandra Wentworth]).
- Distaff Counterpart: Kelly Coffield played Samantha Kinison in some early sketches. Culminated in one of the most hilarious sketches ever when Sam himself joined in to play the other half of a very dysfunctional couple.
- Kelly Coffield also played a female version of Andrew "Dice" Clay.
- Edited for Syndication: Despite the Wayans' siblings objection to have the show censored in reruns, there have been some cuts done to In Living Color in reruns, particularly on BET, where such misogynistic epithets as "bitch" and "ho" are edited. The DVD version has the language intact, but some sketches have been pulled or edited to remove all references to pop songs (including the music video parodies) due to copyright and licensing issues.
- Also, the first episode originally had a parody of the Colt 45 commercials with Billy Dee Williams (played by Keenan-Ivory Wayans) making his date (played by Kim Coles) drink until she passes out with Williams moving in on her unconscious body. FOX didn't like the Black Comedy Rape punchline to the sketch, so it was replaced in all reruns (including cable reruns and on the DVD) with a sitcom sketch called "The Exxon Family," about a clumsy Exxon ship captain and his wife (played by token white cast members Jim Carrey and Kelly Coffield). Thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can now see this lost sketch and judge for yourself if FOX was right or wrong to remove it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlR-I57nmr4
- Film Noir: The Deliberately Monochrome segments with Kelly Coffield as a stereotypical Femme Fatale.
- Funny Background Event: The "Background Guy" skits with Carrey were based around this.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Homey D. Clown.
- Hilarity Ensues
- Hypocritical Humor: Miss Benita "ain't one to gossip", but...
- Just don't say nothin' bad about Ms. Jenkins near her (though that doesn't stop her from gossiping about her either).
- Jerkass: Homey D. Clown.
- Losing Your Head: The Head Detective, and Fire Marshall Bill at the end of his final sketch.
- The Man: Homey's mortal enemy.
- Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Ugly Wanda used this to her advantage in a skit where Dracula was trying to escape her clutches — noticing there's a mirror in her bedroom, he claims he hates them, so she goes up to it and says "Mirror, mirror, on the wall..." and it breaks.
- Nepotism: Most of the producers/actors were related to one another. It's very telling that most of the show's breakout stars were the ones who had no blood connection to the Wayans in any way, shape, or form (Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, and Tommy Davidson).
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: "Impostor", Jim Carrey's parody of "Informer" by Snow. Also Jim Carrey's Vanilla Ice parody, "White, White Baby".
- Race Lift: Most of the sketches that posed the question, "What if [X celebrity] was black?" Also, there was "All Up in the Family" and "East Hollywood Squares" from the final season.
- This was the whole point of Ted Turner's Really Colorized Classics, which put famous black performers (and their shticks) in place of white ones in Golden Age of Hollywood films. Redd Foxx substitutes for Charlie Chaplin in The Kid, and Billy Dee Williams gets Humphrey Bogart's role in Casablanca.
- "Risky Business" Dance: A Black Comedy version, where the Menendez brothers do the dance while wielding rifles.
- Romance on the Set: Kelly Coffield later married Steve Park (the show's first and only Asian cast member who got his start on the third season).
- Screwed by the Network: The series became popular due to its edgy humor, so naturally FOX decided to clamp down on content, driving away the show's creative team in the process and leading to Seasonal Rot in its fifth and final season.
- Sketch Comedy
- Take That: The show often made fun of Saturday Night Live for underusing its African-American cast members at the time (such as Tim Meadowsnote and Chris Rocknote ).
- Theme Tune Rap: By Heavy D (who also did the theme to MADtv).
- Token White: Jim Carrey (probably the most popular of the four), Kelly Coffield, Alexandra Wentworth, and Jay Leggett.
- Type Casting: One character named Magenta Thompson was an actress who always had roles where she is always pushed aside and told by the pusher to "get out of my way, bitch!" This happens even when she is a playing a coma patient, or a potential victim in the latest Friday the 13th film.
- Variety Show
- Where No Parody Has Gone Before: The Star Trek parody sketch called "The Wrath of [Louis] Farrakhan", with Jim Carrey as Kirk.
- Yo Mama: The recurring game show sketch The Dirty Dozens, where contestants use "Yo Mama" jokes against each other for cash and prizes.