Why In Living Color was Such an Important Sketch Comedy Show

Growing up in the 1990s there were plenty of shows on television that were either funny, heartfelt, or somewhere in between. Despite only running for four seasons “In Living Color” is still one of the most well known shows of the decade, and likely one of the funniest that was ever made. Its off the wall characters and ability to tackle real-world issues in a way that could make people laugh was enough to make fans tune into each show in an attempt to keep up with the material. Few shows have ever been quite this daring on such a constant basis, but “In Living Color” managed to take comedy to a whole new level.

Here’s what made In Living Color such an important sketch comedy

5. It helped to launch Jim Carrey’s career.

The most successful of those to act on this show was Jim Carrey, hands down without question. He wasn’t always the focus of the show but his sketches were likely some of the most memorable. From Fire Marshall Bill to Grandpa Jack to his various other characters he provided a level of entertainment that had people wanting to see more. It’s likely that Carrey would have risen to mega stardom anyway eventually, but it’s also easy to argue that this show provided viewers with one of the greatest comedic gems to ever make it to the big screen.

4. The show was well known for featuring popular icons from time to time.

Like most sketch shows “In Living Color” would bring in guest stars now and again to either up the ratings or give the audience a treat. Unlike SNL they didn’t do this so much that it saturated the show, as they decided to keep special appearances to a minimum and focused largely on their own talent.

3. They weren’t afraid to go after pop culture, no matter who it was.

They ripped just about everyone that they could, from Vanilla Ice to Mike Tyson to even Milli Vanilli. Much like other sketch comedies they weren’t afraid to go after those acts that they deemed ridiculous or even controversial. Truth be told they seemed most willing to target those individuals and groups that might have eventually ruined the show if they’d been given a chance, which made them even more gutsy.

2. They weren’t afraid to tackle the issues of the current time.

A lot of shows back in those days wouldn’t touch certain political or social subjects because it might have spelled the end for their program. “In Living Color was one of the few shows that dared to take on these issues and make fun of them in a way that made people laugh while still understanding how serious the problem could be. How many shows were really willing to take on the Rodney King situation and make it work? They proved that if you can’t laugh at the everyday problems of life that it’s not really worth living.

1. They stayed true to their roots.

“In Living Color” was all about the hip hop and keeping true to the culture that it was derived from. Keenan Ivory Wayans, the creator of the show, was always willing to showcase diversity in his cast and in how the issues they covered were presented. To be quite honest they practiced more diversity on this show than on many others and in many ways they made it work far better.

Final Thoughts

While it wasn’t a long-running show, “In Living Color” was most definitely one of the few shows that was able to give people the laugh they needed while showcasing the problems in the world at that time in a tactless yet hilarious manner. While a reunion show is probably not likely to happen, the reruns will always be able to make people laugh and remember the good times.


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