‘In Living Color’ Cast Reflects on Changing the Face of Comedy

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 27: (L-R) Tommy Davidson, Shawn Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kim Wayans and David Alan Grier attend the Tribeca TV 'In Living Color' 25th anniversary reunion during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 27, 2019 in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

It’s been 25 years since Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color ended its five-season run.

During an anniversary panel over the weekend, the cast and creator Keenen Ivory Wayans talked to a sold-out crowd at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, about bringing a new brand of comedy to television in 1990.

“Nobody had done it, everybody had talked about doing it — a black sketch show from an African-American point of view. Keenen was the one who actually did it,” said David Alan Grier, adding that joining the series was “the best decision of my life.”

The show aired from 1990 to 1994, and became a launching pad for cast members, including Grier, Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez and Carrie Ann Inaba.

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The popular sketches spoofed politics and included skits like “Homey The Clown,” “Fire Marshal Bill” and “Men on Film” — which featured two gay cultural critics offering their opinions on movies.

Wayans was asked if the skit would work today.

“I think that the sketch could be done today,” he said. “I think that we have more information about gay culture, so maybe we could make it even funnier.”

But Grier disagreed, saying times have changed.

“I don’t think you can,” he said. “My personal politics, my personal knowledge of trans, gay, LGBTQ culture — I say that because I’m trying to get all the letters out — is different. You know, I have evolved from then. But back then, I would say there was never any malice in our portrayal of these gay men, at least from my perspective at that time. But it was very much of its time.”

In Living Color alums Shawn Wayans, Kim Wayans and Tommy Davidson also participated in the panel.

Davidson explained why the show was so popular with fans.

“We knew what it was gonna do,” he said. “All the energy was anticipation because America needed something new, and In Living Color was the thing.”