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YMMV / In Living Color!

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  • Acceptable Targets: Given how it was a comedy sketch show, everyone was fair game, but in particular conservatives, racists, the censors, the Jackson family (especially Michael, Joe, LaToya and Tito), Vanilla Ice and Mike Tyson and his ex-wife Robin Givens got it the worst.
  • Ear Worm:
    • The original theme song, heard here.
    'You can do what you wanna do... in living color (In Living Color)
    You walk on the moon float like a balloon, you see it's never too late and it's never too soon
    Take it from me what it's like to be... in living color
    And how would you feel knowin' prejudice was obsolete, and all mankind danced to the exact beat
    And at night it was safe to walk down the street! (In Living Color)
    • How you livin'? "WHAT?" How you livin'? "WHAT?" How you livin'? "In Living Color."
    • The season five remix of the first theme isn't bad either.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: As far as characters and sketches, the "Men on..." sketches are very popular with audiences, including gay men (to the point that the characters were reprised years later on an episode of Saturday Night Live, a rival show to In Living Color.)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • As hilarious as the "Promise of a Thin Me" video was, it's all the more painful to watch once you learn that Paula Abdul suffered from bulimia around the time it was made.
    • The Cosby Condom sketch with Jamie Foxx as Bill Cosby. Back then, it was funny because it juxtaposed Cosby's alleged wholesomeness with something that wasn't wholesome (i.e., sex and the fact that condoms were being advertised on TV, which, back then, was considered shocking). These days, with Cosby being accused of drugging and sexually assaulting female celebrities, there is a bitter irony that lingers when watching this parody commercial today.
      • Additionally in the "You Bet Your Career" sketch as the show's host, he is explaining how the show works and at one point utters a line of "While the contestants suck...up to me". Hilarious back then, painfully awkward to watch now.
      • Unrelated to the sexual assault scandals, the Cosby Condom sketch also makes jokes about Cosby's son having an STD. Cosby's son, Ennis, would be murdered a few years after this sketch aired.
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    • One season 2 with the Homeboy Shopping Network has Whiz and Iceman carrying a kidnapped (and strongly struggling) Michael Jackson being held in what appears to be a body bag.
    • In a skit from the final season with uptight Mr. MacPherson note  who was hospitalized with his ongoing hemorrhoids problem, Jay Leggett plays a patient who laughs so much at his medical condition, that he suffers a heart attack or stroke and dies. Leggett himself would die from a heart attack twenty years later.
    • On an installment of East Hollywood Squares, one of the questions was "What is small, purple, and needs to be seen by a doctor?" Fred "Rerun" Berry answer to the question is "Prince", which turns out to be right. Funny back in 1993; in dubious taste in 2016 thanks to Prince's sudden death.
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    • Related to the above, one sketch is of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and with Sinead O'Connor being a guest. Of the pictures that she ripped up, she refused to do it to a picture of Arsenio Hall, saying that she loves him. Nowadays in real life, both of them hate one another, so much that days after Prince's death O'Connor publicly accused Hall of regularly supplying him with drugs and he in turn sued her for millions on the grounds of defamation.
    • A season three episode has a skit about the dysfunctional family of a game show host and the show of their life is called the Family Few. Watching it nowadays is considered this due to the host of the Feud at the time the episode aired, Ray Combs, went through his own marital/familial issues that culminated in his 1996 suicide.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • This Fire Marshall Bill skit (from season five) had a part where it's implied that Fire Marshal Bill and an Arab man bombed the World Trade Center, just to prove that it wasn't structurally sound. Yes, it was referring to when the World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993, but now the joke is in worse taste due to the infamous attack on September 11, 2001 that leveled the towers. As a result, the line is edited from the FXX reruns (including the On-Demand version). The DVD has the line intact.
    • Seeing Keenan portraying Don Cornelius collapsing at the end of the spoof of the series called "Old Train" although he was able to be revived is now this given Cornelius' 2012 suicide. It gets even worse. Regardless on if you may think of the skit as this or a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, his portrayal of Cornelius has him being forgetful and being out of touch with everything happening around him. The driving force behind his suicide was his declining health, namely of him showing early signs of either dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.
    • In a Star Trek skit that poked fun at how old the original Star Trek cast was getting, Bones is portrayed as a skeleton. The actor who originally played Bones, DeForest Kelley, was the first of the original cast to die.
    • During Season 2, Keenen says of brand new Fly Girl Carla Garrido "She's gonna work out fine". It turns out she would be gone from the show after that season ended.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Jamie Foxx had plenty of opportunities to impersonate Ray Charles, especially since this was the time when Charles was promoting Diet Pepsi (even though David Alan Grier would usually play Ray Charles, as seen in such sketches as "Ray Charles in Charge" and "Career-Aid"). Foxx would later win an Oscar for doing the same thing, albeit in more dramatic fare.
    • A Season 1 skit involves a commercial for Rocky VI in which Rocky fights Grace Jones. A decade later, there would actually be a sixth Rocky film.
    • Jamie Foxx also impersonated Garrett Morris (Saturday Night Live's first token black cast member from the show's first five years) in a fake American Express commercial featuring Chris Rock (played by Shawn Wayans) — a couple years before Foxx would appear with Garrett Morris on The WB sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show.
      • In the same sketch, one of the extras is played by Molly Shannon, who herself would later join the cast of SNL.
    • In the MC Hammer-skewering sketch "Too Sold Out to Quit", the joke of Hammer selling out to make himself wealthy ("The rules of being legit/Make a ton of money and then you can quit!") becomes this trope when Hammer ended up more than $10 million in debt the next year.
    Fame, it don't last long/Look at Vanilla Ice, he is gone!
    • There was a series of skits in the final season involving the East Hollywood Squares, an urban-ized take on the famous game show- complete with Peter Marshall, even. In 2013, MTV 2 debuted Hip-Hop urban-ized take on the famous game show. That version was also hosted by a Peter, Rosenberg.
    • The Milli Vanilli sketch (featuring a "Milli Vanilli Do It Yourself Kit") is a typically harsh Take That! at the infamous duo, and ends with the line "So call now, because we are almost out of style!" Sure enough, it wouldn't even be half a year before the lip-sync scandal ignited, putting them out of style permanently.
    • To quote Jim Carrey's take on Vanilla Ice, "What's your real name? / Robert Van Winkle / Why'd you change it? / Nothing rhymes with Winkle". Except possibly the name of the main villain from Carrey's breakthrough into movie stardom several years later.
    • The Star Trek sketch featured Sulu complaining about how Captain Kirk gets all the girls and he gets none, ending with his enthusiasm at the prospect of getting some. Kinda hollow now, considering that George Takei came out of the closet...
      • According to Takei it's not. He was upset at Kelvin!Timeline Sulu being revealed as gay after all, as TOS era Sulu is canonically straight. Unless one has the odd view that gay performers can -only- play gay characters, there's nothing much hollow about a fictional character having different desires than his actor.
    • The recurring character named T-Dog Jenkins. On this show, however, T-Dog Jenkins was Jamie Foxx's reigning champion character on The Dirty Dozens.
    • Jim Carrey's over-enthusiastic activist character these days wouldn't be out of place as a social justice warrior online.
    • In the aforementioned Old Train skit, there was a couple trying to figure out a ridiculously easy word scramble about a famous talking horse (and still not being able to solve it) of "Mr De".
    • In Snow's "Informer" video spoof, "Imposter", we can see Carrey wearing a button-down shirt with a large question mark on it. This won't be the last time we see him sporting a fashion with question marks on it...
    • In the first "Men on Film" sketch, Blaine is surprised to learn that Glenn Close is a woman, thinking her role in Dangerous Liaisons had been a Cross-Cast Role. Years later, Glenn Close would star in Albert Nobbs.
    • A Funky Fingers Productions movie promoted as "a cross between The Wiz and Flatliners" features David Alan Grier in the role of the Cowardly Lion. Twenty-three years later, he'd play the Cowardly Lion in NBC's live telecast of The Wiz, and win an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.
    • Considering that The Golden Girls has a large gay following, it's funny to hear gay film critics Blaine and Antoine trash the show in one sketch.
    • "The Dysfunctional Home Show with Grandpa Jack" is eerily similar to Sam & Mickey's interpretation of Barbie, especially their cooking show episodes. In both, the title character is abusive to their more responsible loved one who helps to oversee the show to make sure they don't screw it up, both of their spouses left them due to their behavior, they burned the meal they were trying to prepare and even at one point, concerned witnesses rush on-camera to stop them from engaging in a dangerous act (drunk driving and knife-juggling, respectively.)
    • An early sketch on how a historically-white country club would be like with new black members would pretty much repeat itself with the 2007 film Who's Your Caddy?.
    • A sketch called Cookin' With Salt-N-Pepa.Salt-N-Pepa actually did their own show of the same name two decades later.
    • In the first "Love Connection" spoof featuring Robin Givens describing her date with Mike Tyson, the other candidates for the audience to vote for her to go on a date with include John F. Kennedy Jr. and Donald Trump, with the latter ending up in second place to Mike's first. Over 25 years later, Tyson supported Trump in his successful campaign for president.
    • In a Season 4 LaShawn sketch where she works at a makeup counter, she makes a joke about Donald Trump being pleased with her applying an orange facial mask to a customer's face.
    • A season three skit called "Krishna Cop" had a cop who gets shot several times and reincarnates every time he does. The very first on-screen reincarnation is that of a little boy.
    • A season 5 sketch where Jamie Foxx parodies the Sir Mix-a-Lot song ‘’Baby Got Back’’ as “Baby Got Snacks”. It's about a group of overweight women. Nearly 17 years later, Pizza Hut included a reference to the parody song in a TV commercial introducing their Ultimate Cheesy Crust Pizza.
  • Minority Show Ghetto: Thankfully averted; the series was and remains very popular with all audiences with even modern comedians and humorists considering it and the show's featured actors/comics as influences.
  • Nausea Fuel: Many of Anton's skits had plenty of this, a given that he was a stereotypical homeless person and it involved graphic visuals or references of everything from his body odor to his infamous "pickle jar".
  • Nightmare Fuel, Pyro Maniac, Body Horror, Too Kinky to Torture, and Stuff Blowing Up: Every Fire Marshal Bill sketch has these tropes in abundance. One of the worst ones had him in a Star Trek-like scenario where he was a victim of a Chest Burster and by the end of the skit, the ship was jettisoned into the sun.
    • A basic example of nightmare fuel is a skit involving a skeptical man going to a magic show, the magician giving him the mind of a chicken and immediately dying of a heart attack. In the present day, the man is now homeless and unable to communicate in anyway with anyone due to behaving and speaking like a chicken to the point he can't even order food at a restaurant. There's a reason why this Twilight Zone-inspired skit is called "The Vortex of Fear".
    • Meta example: when watching the seasons 1-3 DVDs, the 1981 and 1989 20th Century Fox Television "Tower of Doom" logos are upheld on the most of the episodes. Both are pretty creepy in their own right but the former is worse due to being both videotaped and having to hear that squawky horn playing.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • For those who don't know already, there was a time when Jim Carrey (who was credited as his real name "James Carrey" for most of his tenure) was the crazy white guy on In Living Color — and that Jamie Foxx was on this show from season three to the end.
    • Shawn Wayans initially got his start on the show not as an actor, but as the show's DJ, DJ SW1.
    • Marlon Wayans was also on this show as a feature player, but only for Season 4.
    • Future SNL cast members Ellen Cleghorne and Molly Shannon appeared as extras during Seasons 2 and 4, respectively.
    • Larry Wilmore was a writer on the show and also appeared as an extra in sketches.
    • Carrie Ann Inaba and Jennifer Lopez were Fly Girls.
    • Although the team of Klasky-Csupo, who designed the opening credits for all five seasons, weren't completely unknown (as they also had success in creating the opening credits for fellow Fox show The Tracey Ullman Show and being the animation team for its popular cartoon series at the time), it would still be another year until they reached true success with creating Rugrats.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season Four, when the Wayans siblings (Keenan-Ivory, Damon, Kim, Shawn, and Marlon) were kicked off the show following many disputes over censorship, and again in Season Five when Jim Carrey was rarely seen due to his budding movie career. While season four is still considered okay to watch, despite the behind-the-scenes troubles, season five wasn't as well-liked, due to Jim Carrey's absence and the hiring of several new cast members that the audience didn't like.
  • Special Effects Failure: In the first season skit of "The Arsenio Hall Show", when Keenan!Arsenio was running around and rolling on the stage, you can see the padding used to make him appear to have a larger butt.
    • In the season three skit of a woman who knew how to do everything, one of the things she apparently knew how to do is solve the Rubik's Cube in seconds. However on closer inspection, you can see that it wasn't solved at all.
    • In the "What Happened to Blaine? part 2", you can tell that the "cinder block" Antoine hits him with is made of Styrofoam (which you can hear as such with the scratchy sound it makes once it falls off of him.)
    • In the Veracosa: Mistress of Destruction sketch, she ends up beheading three opponents (evident by their heads flying up and then displayed on the ground a short time later) who magically get up alive and with them somehow reattached with no lasting damage minutes after being defeated.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Unfortunately as many characters and skits that had recurring roles, there were several that only had one or sporadic appearances. Such characters /skits include The Buttmans, Magenta Thompson, Keenan's version of Little Richard, Three Champs and a Baby/Little Lady (featuring David as Muhammad Ali, Tommy as Sugar Ray Leonard and Keenan as Mike Tyson) "You Bet Your Career", "The Exxxon Family" and "Richard Pryor is Scared for No Reason".
  • Too Good to Last: As iconic and memorable as the show was and the influence it had on pop culture, it's shocking to realize that it lasted just a mere four years (and with only three of those years with involvement of the show's original creator Keenan Ivory Wayans and his family, who all eventually left due to growing tired of both censors and executives repeatedly stifling their art.)
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Sure Wanda Wayne is an annoying and obsessive Abhorrent Admirer, but she is also seen as desperately wishing for love and willing to rock a potential partner's world, only for them to reject her due to her looks. This becomes much worse in the final season, where she ends up giving birth to a child and is never able to find the child's father and make him take responsibility.
  • Values Dissonance: The words "bitch" and "ho" were used frequently on this series (although those words were commonly used in hip-hop, which was a major influence at the time). Syndicated reruns will often remove those words, especially "bitch", from sketches.
  • Values Resonance: While many of the segments tend to invert this trope, the topics about race relations still have prevalence to this day.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: In several instances, particularly with their music video parodies, like Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman" (remade into "My Songs Are Mindless" with Kim Wayans) or Snow's "Informer" (remade into "Imposter" with Jim Carrey.)
  • The Woobie:
    • A few of the characters played by Tommy Davidson end up being this as the resident Butt-Monkey. Most noticeably, anytime he had a run-in with Homey, Mr. McAfee or Wanda. This was even lampshaded in a Clip Show with him mentioning his grandmother asked him why he was always this.
    • One-time Homey character Chuckles The Clown was abused to no end by the former just because he was a cheery, traditional clown.
    • The poor guy in the aforementioned "Vortex of Fear" skit. Even if he was skeptical and a bit cocky, he really didn't deserve his ultimate fate.


Example of: