Wed 15 Apr 2015
As cult fans celebrate the 25th anniversary of In Living Color, a list of 22 rare facts about the show has surfaced online. The edgy 90s sketch comedy show was responsible for breaking the careers of the Wayans, Jamie Foxx, J LO, Jim Carrey and more. As the brainchild of Keenen Ivory Wayans, the program which ran from 90-94′ won an Emmy in its debut season — and was an undeniable trend setter in pop culture.
In Living Color Facts:
ROSIE PEREZ REPLACED THE ORIGINAL FLY GIRL CHOREOGRAPHER, WHICH CAUSED SOME TENSION.
MARTIN LAWRENCE DIDN’T PASS THE IN LIVING COLOR AUDITIONS.
THERE WAS AN OFFICIAL HOMEY D. CLOWN VIDEO GAME.
1. SIX WAYANS FAMILY MEMBERS APPEARED ON THE SHOW.
Keenen hired Damon, Kim, Shawn, and Marlon Wayans as cast members throughout the run of the series, while Dwayne Wayans was a production assistant and often appeared as an extra. Their other four siblings—Nadia, Elvira, Diedre, and Craig Wayans—did not participate.
2. I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA PROMPTED FOX’S INTEREST IN WAYANS.
After seeing Keenen’s 1988 blaxploitation parody, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Fox’s network executives told Wayans “that I could do anything I wanted, and that’s what set the wheels turning,” he recently recalled to Details. He decided he wanted to do his version of Saturday Night Live.
3. NETWORK EXECUTIVES WANTED TO DELAY ANY POTENTIAL OUTRAGE.
Despite initial assurances that they wanted to “push the edge,” Fox executive Peter Chernin told Wayans that the network wanted to take the “Men on Film,” “The Wrath of Farrakhan,” and “Homeboy Shopping Network” sketches out of the first episode, but assured him that they would run them later, once In Living Color had built up an audience. Wayans refused, and ultimately got his way.
4. FOX WAITED ONE YEAR BEFORE AIRING THE PILOT.
“Barry Diller was terrified of the show,” producer Tamara Rawitt told Details. “He showed it to the NAACP. The NAACP was comprised of older members of the black community, and this was a hip, sassy, tongue-in-cheek show, so I don’t think they got a lot of the humor.” Before airing it, the network wanted to bring in members of organizations like the Urban League as consultants, but Keenen again refused.
5. JENNIFER LOPEZ WASN’T A FLY GIRL UNTIL THE THIRD SEASON.
Whereas Dancing With the Stars judge and choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba was a Fly Girl from the beginning and left at the end of season three, Lopez didn’t make her In Living Color dancing debut until September 22, 1991, during the third season premiere. The same night, Jamie Foxx was introduced as a new cast member.
6. ROSIE PEREZ REPLACED THE ORIGINAL FLY GIRL CHOREOGRAPHER, WHICH CAUSED SOME TENSION.
Coming in before the third episode, Perez wanted the dancers to perform moves that went against their years of training. “There wasn’t any fighting, but it was emotional for them,” Perez recalls. “I was very young, so it took me a minute to digest it. I remember going up to Keenen’s office like, ‘They hate me!’ He said, ‘Just do your job.'” Perez remained there for four years.
7. HOMEY D. CLOWN WAS BASED ON PAUL MOONEY.
You may know the longtime comedy writer (who wrote for In Living Color) as the star of the Chappelle’s Show sketches “Ask a Black Dude” and “Negrodamus.” After the writers followed Keenen’s orders to mess with him, Mooney said, “Oh, homey don’t play that!” Damon Wayans and the writers worked from there.
8. THERE WAS AN OFFICIAL HOMEY D. CLOWN VIDEO GAME.
In 1993, Capstone came up with the MS-DOS point-and-click adventure. Players have to get Homey to a major television studio by the end of the day so that he can accept their offer of fame and fortune, with only “the streets of New York” standing in his way.
9. LARRY WILMORE WAS A WRITER ON THE SHOW.
The host of The Nightly Show was tapped to write for In Living Color by his brother Marc, who was a writer for the show turned cast member during the fifth and final season. Marc has been a co-executive producer on The Simpsons since 2005.
10. THERE WERE PLENTY OF FORMER AND FUTURE SNL STARS.
Damon Wayans was an SNL cast member during the show’s 1985-1986 season, but was fired for ad-libbing during a live sketch. After Chris Rock left SNL, he appeared in six episodes of In Living Color, mostly as his character Cheap Pete from I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Regular In Living Color director Paul Miller originally directed SNL for three years. As far as other SNL connections: Colin Quinn was a fifth season writer and Molly Shannon played an office trainee in a sketch two years before joining the NBC series, while Jim Carrey unsuccessfully auditioned for SNL three times before landing on In Living Color.