In Living Color

Stars

In Living Color is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990,[1] to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in association with 20th Television and was taped at stage 7 at the Fox Television Center on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

The title of the series was inspired by the NBC announcement of broadcasts being presented “in living color” during the 1960s, prior to mainstream color television. It also refers to the fact that most of the show’s cast was Black, unlike other sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live, whose casts were mostly White at the time. In Living Color was controversial due to the Wayans’ decision to portray a form of irreverent Black humor in a time when mainstream American tastes regarding Black comedy on television had been set by inoffensive family-friendly shows such as The Cosby Show, causing an eventual feud for control between Fox executives and the Wayans.

Other members of the Wayans familyDamon, Kim, Shawn, and Marlon—had regular roles, while brother Dwayne frequently appeared as an extra. The show also starred several previously unknown comedians and actors, including Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Tommy Davidson, David Alan Grier, Kelly Coffield Park, and T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh. The show introduced Jennifer Lopez and Carrie Ann Inaba as members of In Living Color‘s dance troupe The Fly Girls, with actress Rosie Perez serving as choreographer. The show was immensely popular in its first two seasons, capturing more than a 10-point Nielsen rating; in the third and fourth seasons, ratings faltered as the Wayans brothers fell out with the Fox network’s leadership over creative control and rights.

The series won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series in 1990. The series gained international prominence for its bold move and its all-time high ratings gained by airing a live, special episode as a counterprogram for the halftime show of U.S. leader CBS‘s live telecast of Super Bowl XXVI, prompting the National Football League to book A-list acts for future game entertainment, starting with Michael Jackson the following year.[2] In 2018, a history of the show, Homey Don’t Play That! by David Peisner, was released by 37 INK, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.