In Living Color made its debut on Fox 25 years ago. The show was both revolutionary and hilarious. As the first network sketch program with a predominantly black cast, the show introduced us to talents like Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier, and Jim Carrey. Let’s look back at some of the most memorable sketches that made this a must-see program in the early ’90s.
Men On Film
I’ll be honest, I have my doubts about whether this sketch would fly today. I could easily see the flamboyantly gay film critics portrayed by Wayans and Grier being derided as “problematic” by the world of internet thinkpieces. While this wasn’t the most PC sketch, it was really, really funny. Anyone who claims they’ve never yelled “HAY-TED IT!” after seeing a bad movie is lying.
Before Jamie Foxx’s was winning Oscars and providing us with slickly produced R&B, he was best known as Ugly Wanda, a woman so hideous that most men recoil at the site of her. In this particular sketch, Wanda goes on a blind date with Luther, a man equally hideous. Unfortunately, both are in denial about their looks and reluctant to date the other.
Homey The Clown
If you thought Krusty was rough on kids, you’re in for a shock. This character was known for the immortal line, “Homey don’t play that,” which became one of the most repeated catchphrases of the ’90s. He was an angry clown who taught children hard lessons about life. In this sketch, he works as a substitute teacher for a kindergarten class and teaches the kids how the man fingerpaints. Naturally, he does this by making a student give her fingerprints. “That’s not very pretty,” she says, to which Homey replies, “You’re damn right it ain’t.” Another tough lesson learned.
Fire Marshal Bill
Before becoming one of the biggest film stars of the ’90s, Jim Carrey got his start on In Living Color, where his most popular character was the always eccentric Fire Marshal Bill. His heart was in the right place, as he tried to teach people about fire safety, but he often came across as highly irritating, and he would end up putting himself in more danger than he bargained for. It was the blueprint for all the wackiness that would make Carrey a beloved comedic actor.
“White, White, Baby”
Another gem from Carrey, as he tears Vanilla Ice to shreds in this brilliant parody of “Ice, Ice, Baby.” Vanilla Ice was huge at the time, and Carrey’s parody played on the notion that he was simply capitalizing on rap’s popularity and was inauthentic. Ironically, Carrey hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live last year where the musical guest was Iggy Azalea, who has faced similar criticisms. One can only wonder if Iggy has seen this classic sketch.