The Throwback: 'In Living Color' honored as 'groundbreaking'
April 26th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

The Throwback: 'In Living Color' honored as 'groundbreaking'

"In the early days, TV was in black and white," Whoopi Goldberg said as she presented the Groundbreaking Award to the cast of "In Living Color" at the TV Land Awards earlier this month.

"But let's be honest," she went on. "It was really more white than black. But in 1990, a new show changed the face of television, not to mention comedy."

Created by actor/writer Keenen Ivory Wayans, the sketch comedy series "In Living Color" ran on Fox from 1990-1994, and "brought a new multiculturalism to the primetime variety genre, which basically means there was nothing like it on television anywhere," continued Goldberg.

"With a bold, comedic edge, hip-hop energy and streetwise sensibility, it not only shattered stereotypes, it shattered everybody's idea of what sketch comedy was and could be, and more importantly, what it was supposed to look like," she said. "It was the ultimate water-cooler show because when you see old white men sitting around talking about 'two snaps up,' it meant somebody was watching."

"In Living Color" was a family affair - brothers Keenen and Damon Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program, which also starred their sister, Kim. The series launched the careers of Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and David Alan Grier, and characters such as Fire Marshall Bill, Homey D. Clown, and Blaine & Antoine from the "Men on Films" sketches have since become part of American pop culture.

Most of the cast attended the awards ceremony, though Foxx was noticeably absent, as well as several members of "In Living Color's" in-house dance troupe, The Fly Girls. (No, former Fly Girl Jennifer Lopez did not attend.)

"This is truly an honor to accept this award," said Keenen Ivory Wayans, "and an even greater honor to be back together with all these talented people.

"We were just a bunch of, ah, geniuses," he joked before adding, "no, we were just a bunch of young kids who had an opportunity to be funny. There was no great intention behind it other than to come to work every day and have fun and give what we had to an audience who had never seen what we had before."

David Alan Grier recalled that he "loved doing the show," to the point that he can't remember missing a day of work, and Jim Carrey also took a moment to reflect.

"This is a tsunami, a wave, a crest of talent I feel so incredibly lucky to have been sucked up into," the actor said. "It was bigger than us, and we all knew that... we had every experience under the rainbow in this show. We laughed, we cried, we broke down walls, and eventually we elected a president."

Kim Wayans added that the show "was such an amazing ride for us. I knew we were doing something special back then. The fact that the show is still popular in reruns after all these years is really a testament to the creative, comedic brilliance of my big brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans; and I want to say thank you. And on behalf of Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Kim Wayans and David Wayans I say thank you for upholding the wonderful Hollywood tradition of nepotism."

The classic sketch program is being rebooted, with Keenen Ivory Wayans serving as executive producer. Fox is set to shoot the pilot episode in the coming weeks with a cast of newcomers.

What about you? What were your favorite "In Living Color" sketches and characters? You can watch the cast members accept the honor when the TV Land Awards ceremony airs on April 29.

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Filed under: television • The Throwback

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Denise

    I love the Wayans Bros. DVD. The whole family is hiiurloas. I don't care what anyone says this show is funny. Marlon is a complete nut Help me please! I hope they release season 2 as well! Pops is a trip,too.In addition to this DVD I recommend In living Color Season 2 and White Chicks !!

    August 11, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. ItsRainingMen...HALLELUJAH

    thre *snaps* in

    ZZZZZZZZZZ formation

    May 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Margaret

    keenan picked a great cast of funny people. hope they do a reuniion.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. fenglund

    my family loved this show. There were so many funny spots. for example 2 gays reviewing movies... HATED IT...,

    April 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Margaret

    the show was hysterical...hopefully they'll return.

    April 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Phil Esteen

    In Living, that was WAY BACK when Faux News actually allowed real, honest-to-god black people on their network instead of the two varieties they allow now:

    1) The 'step-n-fetchit' Republican blacks who are trying their level best not to appear as though all they want to be is whiter than their pasty white co-hosts.

    2) The cantakerous black demagogues like Rev Sharpton that white people use to justify their continuing hatred of any assertive black person.

    So Faux News has actually regressed over the past two decades just like the Republican Party they love so much!

    April 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan

    The head detective was hilarious. " It will cost thousands to fix him... I only have 29.95.....ill see what can do"

    April 30, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Faby

      April has been a terrible month, and May even worse for us.But Frank boghrut you closer to Seth, so even in his passing, he has helped a friend once again.Live your life next April will be better.Love you,K

      August 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jampy

    Handyman.... yeap this was when the world was less politically correct and a bit more lighthearted..... many characters, Homey DON"T PLAY THAT...... I"M GONNA ROCK YOUR WORLD...said Wanda...

    April 30, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. amygirl

    Anything with Kim Wayans was the best! Her and Ms Jenkins.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    What a horrible looking picture of that white woman

    April 28, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. TJ

    Jamie Foxx's character "Wanda" was hilarious.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. duh

    just wanted to point out that JLO looked like a man back them

    April 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. love it

    It's amazing how many recognizable faces and name came from that show. Even Jennifer Lopez started there!

    April 27, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Corey

    I miss in living color. I wish it was still on TV. I wrote a song about it. Wolud you like to hear it? Well here it goes! I miss in living color. I wish it was still on TV Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Thank you very much!

    April 27, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. ThatsMissEtoyou

    For me, it was all about Fire Marshall Bill! "Let me show you somethin!" Funny!

    April 27, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  16. Chuck Taylor

    They maid fun of every race not just whites, again i say, stop abusing the race card. Jim Carey which is white is well paid because of that show, more paid than all of those black people he worked with

    April 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      Don't forget Jim Carrey got an Oscar nod, Jamie Foxx won an Oscar, they were the two big breakout stars from the show. And the young brothers Shawn and Marlon broke out with Scary movie and the sequels. This show helped out many careersm just like SNL, Will Farrell. The 90's rocked.

      April 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      The Wayans Brothers was one of the First Primetime Shows on the Newly Formed WB Network.. It's without a Doubt one of the BEST Comedys that Network ever sshwcaoed This 2 Disc DVD Set from Season One is Amazing each Episoed is full of Laughs, gags and old-school Hummor (Any Fan of The Three Stooges will love this Great Show) This is Marlone & Shawn Wayans at there Best! Only Negative is lack of Extras for Season One Warner Brothers needs to Release each Season asap Highley Recommened!!! 9.5/10

      August 11, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  17. Kaw Kaziun

    But my favorite bit was the self-taught prison philosopher who used all the big words in the wrong context. Funny because it was so true!

    April 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • RMG Radio

      Both of your comments sound light-weight racist. #JustSayin'

      April 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      Oh, that's right. I forgot about that one. He was hilarious. I love that show soooo much. A lot of great talent. They should feel very proud. Groundbreaking!

      April 30, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  18. Kaw Kaziun

    Except they always made fun of white people. Try doing that show in reverse, you'd have Al Sharpton up in yer grill faster than Michael Johnson in his gold track shoes.

    April 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  19. danielwalldammit

    In its day this was a damned funny show.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  20. @Evel Knievel

    Oh come on, you didn't like Wanda? She was the

    April 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Nancy

    I loved the skits where Tommy Davidson was the cook in the restaurant and he kept calling out "Pick it up"!!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. k

    Truly, an all talented cast!

    April 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alx

      Except for the sister.. she was just to loud and annoying, and a baaad actress, maybe when she playd Oprah she was funny.. but thats it.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  23. TT

    This was one of the funniest shows on tv. Just look at the people who were involved, some of the best comics out there.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Sokman

    Homie don' play dat

    April 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iendahcute

      These mac ads are shown on regular TV in NZ I beviele. Unless I'm spending so much time on the PC _whilst_ in front of the TV that I'm mistaking what is on which screen? ;)This anti-Windows cripple-ware mac advert confuses me though. My primary-use machine is a macbook, and the occasions when I boot it into OSX (instead of linux) I'm invariably annoyed by the cripple-ware that is Quicktime If you want to run something full screen you're informed you need to fork-out for the costly pro-version. Given that is one of the main apps an OSX user would utilise and full-screen is an essential feature of a video player, the ad is just slightly hypocritical.I'm sure the ads are working, I'm just not sure they're truthful.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Evel Knievel

    My favorite sketch was about the black people who could swim. Now, THAT'S funny.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |

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