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Fox To Reboot 'In Living Color' With Keenen Ivory Wayans; 2 Specials Set For Midseason


Fox is bringing back its groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color with the series' creator and star, Keenen Ivory Wayans, on board as host and executive producer. Fox has ordered two In Living Color half-hour specials to air as part of the network's 25th anniversary celebration in midseason with a series option behind them, meaning that in success, the reboot will join Fox's schedule as a regular series next season. I hear it was Wayans' idea to revive the popular sketch comedy series with a new cast. The new In Living Color will be produced by his production company Ivory Way Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox TV's Fox 21.


Like the remake, the original In Living Color, which was produced by Ivory Way Prods and 20th TV, also launched in midseason, premiering on April 15, 1990. It broke stereotypes by employing a cast of mostly black comedians and introducing hip-hop and dancing to mainstream television. The show helped launch the careers of a slew of comedy actors — its cast included Wayans; his siblings Damon, Shawn, Kim and later Marlon; as well as Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and David Alan Grier — and of course Jennifer Lopez as one of the Fly Girls. It spawned such iconic characters as "Men on Film," starring flamboyant film critics Blaine Edwards (Damon Wayans) and Antoine Merriweather (Grier); Homey D. Clown (Damon Wayans), a dour urban kiddie entertainer whose catchphrase was "Homey don't play that!"; streetwise scam artists "The Home Boys" (Keenen Ivory and Damon Wayans); and Fire Marshall Bill (Jim Carrey), a disfigured safety expert. In Living Color gave its actors freedom to improvise and it skewered everyone, particularly black America. In probably the most successful programming stunt opposite the Super Bowl ever, a special live edition of In Living Color drew some 25 million viewers during the halftime of the 1992 Super Bowl on CBS. But the show's fearlessness when it comes to the targets of its jokes and the unapologetic political incorrectness of its skits often ran afoul with Fox's censors. The frequent clashes contributed to Wayans' departure from the show after the third season though he remained an executive producer. In Living Color ended its run in May 1994 after five seasons.


Fox has long been looking to launch a successful new sketch comedy series. Last season, it tried with In The Flow With Affion Crockett, executive produced by In Living Color alum Foxx, which was originally slated for midseason but ultimately aired in the summer to low ratings. Keenen Ivory Wayans, repped by UTA, has been focused on features for the past 15 years, directing, writing and producing the successful Scary Movie franchise as well as White Chicks and Little Man, on which he worked with his brothers. At Fox 21, In Living Color joins series Homeland, Breakout Kings and Sons Of Anarchy.




i love good sketch comedy, but shit has gotta be difficult to stay consistent with. hoping for good shit here!

the suggestion of jacking

from SNL has already been made, of course, heh. no word on



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What?!? Come on! A rehash of FIre Marshal Bill, starring some unknown white kid making fun of firefighters... A Homie Don't Play that sketch! Comedic Gold! Some hot puerto rican bitches dancing for 30 sec before the show ends!! What WONT be great about this! And for extra's they can just recycle the cast of Mad TV.

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I am a huge In Living Color fan. I actually show sketches to my students when I am teaching them about parody, satire, and comedy in general so they can make their own vocabulary skits funny.


I hope this is done right and doesn't end up like Little Man.

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Before getting too excited recall that In Living Color has aged like milk, all the best comedians cost way too much money to do it now, and this is not the Keenan Ivory Wayans that made I'm Gonna Git You Sucka but the Keenan Ivory Wayans that made Dance Movie and Scary Movie 2.


That is what I came here to say. Goddamn you 'Baytor.

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Keenen Ivory Wayans wasn't looking to do a TV show. In 1988, he was riding high on the success of his cult hit I'm Gonna Git You Sucka and contemplating his next movie. But he took a meeting with a fledgling network called Fox, which made an offer he couldn't refuse. "They told me I could do whatever I wanted," Wayans, 61, recalls. What he wanted was to do a show like Saturday Night Live only much, much edgier. Homey Da Clown, Homeboy Shopping Network, Men on Films — the skits Wayans and his mostly African American cast performed each week pushed the envelope not just of TV's color barrier but of TV comedy, won an Emmy and incubated the careers of stars Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez. Today, 25 years after its final episode (May 19, 1994), The Hollywood Reporter tracks down the cast and crew for an oral history of a button-pushing TV landmark.
THE MEETING — "He thought we were going to pitch him a black sitcom"
I kept index cards of promising ideas on a corkboard behind my head. One card just said "black Laugh-In." We needed someone to bring it to life.
KEENEN IVORY WAYANS, CASTMEMBER AND CREATOR I had done a movie called I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. And it was a big success. And I had set up screenings of the movie for all the studios' film departments. But Fox didn't come. Instead they sent the TV execs. And so when I got a call, I thought I was going in to meet with the film side of Fox and instead ended up in a meeting with the network.
ANCIER He thought I was going to pitch him a black sitcom because of The Cosby Show. I said, "No, no, no. We would love to pitch you this idea and buy a pilot if you're up for it."
WAYANS At that time, Fox wasn't even a network. They were a startup. And I really didn't have interest in that because I wanted to pursue film. But they said to me, "You know if you come here you can pretty much do anything you want to do." And I said, "Well, let me think about it." And then I kind of sat and said, "If I am given an opportunity like this, what would I do?" So I started to put together the show for the idea.
SHAWN WAYANS, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT, DJ, CASTMEMBER I was a teenager. Keenen was telling me that he was working on something and might have something for me. He was always Superman to me. I've been watching my brother do some incredible shit since I was 5.
KEENEN IVORY WAYANS I remember using Laugh-In as a model during the pitch. I liked its quick pace. And, of course, I was a huge fan of Saturday Night Live. The difference was shorter sketches and more character-driven. I emphasized the edge of the show was going to be different. Fox bought the pilot. Then I picked my cast. Everyone wanted to be on it.
SEASON ONE — "Spike Lee hated the show"
 Keenen gave us a mission statement to take the comedy as far as you can take it. He said, "The reason why we have you here is you're out of the box, so I'm going to take you out of the box and across the yard."
KEENEN IVORY WAYANS We were doing something that people hadn't seen yet. Barry Diller … called Peter Chernin and said we couldn't do [the black gay parody] "Men on Films." He was worried it was going to be offensive, blah, blah, blah. And I called Barry and said, "I understand your concern. But do me a favor. At least come to the rehearsal and see it on its feet." He said OK. He came down. He watched the rehearsal. And it was like a bomb went off in the studio audience. People were stomping their feet and clapping and laughing. Barry stood there watching. His face didn't move. But then he turned to me and said, "OK," and he left. So we were able to do it.
CARREY We were warped out of our minds. We presented several sketches that didn't make it on the air, things that were just too insane, like the abortion rally ventriloquist. We came up with a sketch called "Make a Death Wish Foundation" about a dead kid whose posthumous wish was to go to an amusement park. That did not make it on air, either. But I came up with the face of the kid, and it eventually turned into the "Fire Marshall Bill" face.
KELLY COFFIELD PARK, CASTMEMBER David and I shot a black-and-white spoof of the Calvin Klein commercial "Obsession" and called it "Oppression." He looked like a slave in bondage. We shot it for the pilot, but it took a minute for it to be on the air.
GRIER Spike Lee hated the show. He got really mad at us because he thought we were over-the-top about Do the Right Thing. He did not like us making fun of him. People would get angry when we poked fun at them. Arsenio Hall too — anybody that we really poked fun at.


revisiting sketches recently: 2011 baytor & loggins knew nothing, shit still holds up 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This show was so important to me as a kid. There were really no rules as to what I could watch in my house since I had my own TV in the basement. I saw the pilot when it originally aired and I was hooked. I think I watched almost every episode when it originally aired.


When I was an English teacher at Miami Coral Park, I would teach vocabulary through sketch comedy. I used to show skits from In Living Color to my class to teach them about creating sketches and basic ideas from comedy. I would place the students in groups and we would create sketches around a vocabulary word that the group was assigned. I would perform with the students in their sketches if they wanted me to. It was wild and hysterically funny sometimes.


I only teach AP Human Geography now at a very different school, but I miss those moments when we would perform and laugh together at Coral Park.


Here is one of the sketches that I would show when explaining parodies (I showed the original milk commercials to give the students context):


"Live hard and fast. Die young and pretty."




  • Haha 1
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