I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Friday, November 25, 2005

"In Living Color" (1990-1994)

The brainchild of comedian Keenan Ivory Wayans, TV audiences were introduced to a group of bright comedians and comedic actors. It was "Saturday Night Live" in prime-time, with an African-American comic sensibility. In addition to the sketches, there was a DJ and a group of dancers called The Fly Girls.

Like any sketch show cast, certain pop culture figures got picked on constantly. Oprah Winfrey, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Arsenio Hall really used to catch it. They also had original characters that became big crowd pleasers such as Homey, the militant clown ("Homey don't play that!"), accident prone and accident causing Fire Marshall Bill ("Let me show you somethin'!"), and gay pals Blaine and Antoine who offered their opinions on everything via their "Men On. . ." cable access show. Much of the material was extremely edgy and pushed the limits of good taste, but they were hilarious.

One of my all-time favorite sketches was about a game show where contestants played "the dozens". "The dozens" involved two opponents topping each other with insults towards each other until one person can't come up with anything clever, or gets angry (example: "Your family is so poor, the welcome mat just reads, 'well'.). Rapper Biz Markie ("The Vapors") and Jamie Foxx were constant contestants. Nick Bekay ("Night After Night") was the host of the game show. Foxx's character beat out the others in one episode, only to face the top insulter, Ed O'Neill ("Married With Children).

The Wayans family (Keenan and siblings Kim, Shawn, Damon and Marlon) were heavily involved in the show for about the first three years. However, the cracks began showing early. Kim Coles was gone after 1990. In later years, she hinted that she may have been eased out in favor of making Kim Wayans more prominent in the cast. The success of the show prompted the FOX network to show reruns of episodes during the week along with the new episode. Keenan Ivory Wayans felt that this would hurt the show's chances later on in syndication, and he left the show in 1992. Damon began to appear occassionally in episodes, until eventually he was gone. By the time the show was canceled in 1994, the Wayans family had totally pulled out of the show.

Most of the cast members went on to larger success. Outside of the Wayans siblings projects (the Scary Movie series, I'm Gonna Get You Sucka), there was rubber faced Jim Carrey, who appeared to be fearless. Jamie Foxx, who joined the show in 1991, won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the movie Ray. Kim Coles was a cast member on the sitcom "Livin' Single". One of the Fly Girls, Jennifer Lopez, became not only an actress (Out Of Sight, Enough), but also a singer.


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