These ‘In Living Color’ Facts Will Change The Way You Think About The Iconic Show That Launched Careers
For four years “In Living Color” was a comedy television series that highlighted some of the biggest talents in the business to date. From Jennifer Lopez to Jim Carrey the show made aspiring actors and comedians into entertainment legends.
Check out 22 facts about the show you probably didn’t know.
1. Jennifer Lopez was a member
Lopez starred as a member of the show’s dance troupe The Fly Girls.
2. Rosie Perez got her start there too
Perez served as the show’s choreographer.
3. Jim Carrey was on but had a different name
During his days on the show, the comedian went by the name “James Carrey.”
4. The Wayans made it a family affair.
Six members of the Wayans family appeared on the show. Damon, Kim, Shawn, and Marlon Wayans were regular cast members on the show. Dwayne Wayans often made appearances as an extra but was primarily a production assistant.
5. Keenen Wayans got permission to whatever he wanted as creator.
Wayans created the blaxploitation parody “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” back in 1988 and afterward, Fox’s network executives told the comedian he could have a show doing whatever he wanted. Thus his idea of creating a version of SNL was born.
6. It took a year to air the pilot
Fox waited a full year to air the show because initially the NAACP was conflicted about the show.
7. Rosie caused some tension
Rosie replaced the original fly girl choreographer before the third episode and had to deal with quite a bit of ego. “There wasn’t any fighting, but it was emotional for them,” Perez has said. “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.
8. Larry Wilmore wrote for the show
You might remember Wilmore from his job as a host on “The Nightly Show.” These days he’s a co-eductive producer on The Simpsons.
9. Damon Wayans got fired
Wayans took a bit too much creative control during his run on SNL in 1985 and was quickly cut for ad-libbing during a life sketch.
10. Chris Rock also came from SNL
Rock was on SNL and soon left to join In Living Color for six episodes.
11. Jim Carey wanted to be on SNL
The comedian auditioned for SNL 3 times until finally moving on to In Living Color
12. Damon Wayans helped hire Jim Carrey
Damon and Jim knew each other from working together at The Comedy Store and on the movie Earth Girls Are Easy.
13. Martin Lawrence auditioned
Lawrence, Margaret Cho, and Susie Essman all auditioned but never made it onto the show’s stage.
14. The Super Bowl owes the show a lot
The Super Bowl’s first big halftime show came from a Doritos sponsored live episode of In Living Color during Super Bowl XXVI. High-profile acts have been a huge thing on the show ever since.
15. There was a sketch that aired that almost got someone fired.
“Bolt 45” was an episode that had been scratched from all syndications of the show because Fox believed it mocked date rape. Keenan Wayans argued that it was only mocking beer but Fox brought down the ax on the show. Years later, the show was aired by a network employe by accident and he almost got fired.
16. Keenen quit when the show started to do repeat airings
Fox started airing previous episodes of the show in the fourth season without permission. Wayans was so upset that he hid a type of a fully edited episode so the network couldn’t re-air it. He eventually gave up and quit the show.
17. The Wayans did a dramatic on-air protest
Shawn and Kim Wayans weren’t free to leave the show after their brother quit because they were under contract. To express their anger over being forced to stay on the show they wore black sunglasses and refused to take part in Jamie Foxx’s Christmas number after their brother’s departure.
18. The “Men On Football” sketch caused a problem
In the sketch, Ways and Grier joked that Richard Gere and Carl Lewis might be gay. Both actors were upset and issued an apology letter so they wouldn’t sue.
19. John Leguizamo almost got on the show
Leguizamo was offered a role on the show and despite wanting to do it, his agents talked him out of it, insisting he’d get his own show. And he did! Leguizamo got the show “House of Buggin'” which eventually became MADtv.
20. Jada Pinkett Smith almost got on the show
She was considered for the position of the Fly Girl choreographer briefly before being passed up for Rosie Perez.
21. The show’s title card switched
The first few episodes of the show used a colorful logo for its opening credits. However, the band Living Colour caught wind and threatened to sue if the show didn’t stop. These days everyone remembers a logo with more plain letters.
22. Martin Tisha Campbell worked with Martin Lawrence who auditioned
Martin Lawrence auditioned for the show but never made it. Years later he went on to star alongside Martin Tisha Campbell.
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