‘In Living Color’ is an American sketch comedy series created by Keenen Ivory Wayans that aired on Fox between April 1990 to May 1994. During an era where white actors dominated the successful comedy sketches such as ‘Saturday Night Live,’ this series boasted the main cast of black stars and helped to introduce black humor to the rest of America and the world.
Not only was the iconic show a fan favorite, but it also aided in launching the careers of tons of stars, including Keenen’s brothers Damon, Shawn, and Marlon, as well as funny guy acclaimed actor Jim Carrey as well as multitalented star Jamie Foxx. The same series introduced popstar Jennifer Lopez to the world as she was part of The Fly Girls girl band that performed in between the sketches back then.
‘In Living Color’ is one of those shows which, regardless of how much time passes by, one can’t sideline its importance in setting up the foundation for shows in its genre that came after it. Many characters are still beloved by fans of the program to date, but which ones are the best? Stay with us because we will be ranking the top 15 ‘In Living Color’ characters of all time.
15. Amy Fisher
Closing the ranks is Amy Fisher, played by Ali Wentworth, who officially joined the cast in 1993 after brief appearances in the first and second installments. Fisher was a fantastic portrayal of a New York City tabloid bad girl with her elegant performances on her skit on the show Super Bimbo becoming one of the most excellent performances in the show’s history.
14. Cheap Pete
Cheap Pete is the ridiculously economical guy who appeared in the show from 1993 till 1994, embodied by Chris Rock. Rumor had it then that Rock was fired from Saturday Night Live when the producers learned that he was planning to jump ship to the ‘In Living Color.’
Sadly, the show was canceled shortly after he joined the cast, but his performance left a lasting impression nevertheless, and he soon picked up his pieces, becoming one of the greatest comedians in showbiz.
Keenen, the creator of the show, usually let his talent take center stage to show off their skills and was mainly pulling the strings from behind the scenes. But that didn’t mean that he couldn’t put on his acting boots and step back in front of the camera when occasions called for it.
He was particularly perfect as the good-looking French guy Frenchie who loved to party and dress up like a pimp while dropping lines in the most romantic language on planet Earth. His looks and swag are something that can’t quickly fade away from memory, especially for die-hard fans.
12. Benita Burrell
There is that one person in the community who is friendly with everybody else and pretends to be the most caring person the world has ever known. Still, once you let them in on your secrets, they shamelessly air your dirty laundry in public without a care in the world.
This hilarious character in this show was played by Wayans sister Kim who was always ready with the 411 around the block as long as you didn’t quote her as your source of the juicy gossip.
The memorable, extremely confident, facially deformed, sassy Wanda was a part that was made intriguing by Jamie Foxx’s performances that added an extra flair to the show making an obviously cringy moment into a hilarious one. The results were the creation of an iconic original character that was loved by many.
10. Tom and Tom (Brothers Brothers)
There are those few people in the black community who are such white supremacists to the extent that every single stereotype crafted about black people is true to them regardless of whether it’s based on facts.
‘In Living Color’ the Brothers Tom Brothers and Tom Brothers played by Damon and Keenen are the country-song duo who believe Black people blabber too much about their problems. They are the whitest black people in the show’s hood.
9. Home Shopping Network
Again, embodied by Damon and Keenen, this duo poses as hustlers in a Home Shopping network parody. They come up with all sorts of creative ways to cheat their way into people’s money and shamelessly swindle the gullible masses in the most hilarious ways until, well, the long arm of the law catches up with them.
8. Grandpa Jack McGee
This show, of course, gave superstar Jim Carrey a head start into a highly successful film career. His portrayal of the always drunk, foul-mouthed, suicidal, hot-tempered grandpa Jack McGee who dared pass across jumbled-up editions of everyday home activities in his state, was astounding.
His love for pork and beans, his behavior, and as well as loose cannon antics made him quite memorable.
7. Anton Jackson
Coming in at number seven is Anton Jackson, a role by Damon, who is one of those characters who will not only effortlessly make you sprawl on the ground with laughter but also cringe in disgust at the same time.
He is a homeless man who likes enjoying the finer things in life, which is quite nasty as his presumed good life includes picking his nose and using the boogers to stick things together. He also loves to show people his portable toilet. Yaak!
6. Oswald Bates
Oswald Bates is that one person who thinks that he is so intelligent, while the fact is that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks and keeps using the wrong English words in the most hideous and unrelated contexts.
He is an inmate who, if he weren’t an already convicted felon, then the inventors of the English language would definitely sue him for massacring the queen’s language. Damon once more lends this character his body leaving behind the most nonsensical gut-wrenching dialogue on th entire show.
5. Calhoun Tubbs
Calhoun Tubbs might not be the most hilarious character ‘In Living Color,’ but he sure did leave a lasting impression with his irritable, rude tunes and catchphrases. When he wasn’t tormenting convicts with his performances, he was busy traumatizing innocent kids at birthday parties. David Alan Grier played this self-proclaimed star.
4. Vera De Milo
Jim Carrey took on different characters during his five-year reign in the series. Another of his iconic performances was as fitness enthusiast Vera De Milo.
The character was presented as a woman blessed with a pretty husky voice who loved to flex and use plenty of steroids, which made her performances hilariously ridiculous. Everything about her, not to mention that she used to neigh occasionally, makes it hard to forget such a personality.
3. Blaine Edwards and Anton Mayweather
In the period during which ‘In Living Color’ aired, people were not overly concerned about correcting political views and perspectives. For instance, the recurring character of a physically challenged superhero named Handi-Man would have been cringe-worthy in today’s viewership.
The show then introduces two flamboyant gay men who loved to discuss everything about movies. It is evident that the roles are stereotypical; however, the way they execute the dialogue and how the sketch was framed is fantastic. It is almost impossible to keep a straight face while watching this duo played by Damon and Grier.
2. Fire Marshall Bill
There is no doubt that Jim Carrey is fantastic when it comes to delivering hard comedy hence why his Fire Marshall Bill character takes up the runners-up spot as everything about him is impressive. He is the epitome of a wacky character who looks like the walking dead with half of his mouth missing and physically demonstrates safety dangers on himself.
He is that one maniac who will go at any length to put his point across, including dismembering his own hand and blowing up structures. His psycho-like mannerisms and the surrealness of it all make this character stand out from the many others that have graced the show.
1. Homey D Clown
And we are on to the winner. Clinching the top spot of the most memorable ‘In Living Color’ characters is Homey D Clown, played by Damon Wayans. This clown is the reason why children are terrified by his kind. He is violent, insults everything that moves, is unfriendly and withdrawn, and exceptionally grumpy.
He isn’t there to brighten anyone’s mood but to just fulfill his community service obligations. He is like the perfect embodiment of a pretty bad Santa Claus.
It’s been over three decades since ‘In Living Color’ was launched, which sadly could have probably transversed unimaginable boundaries if Fox didn’t fall out with Keenen, the mastermind behind this masterpiece.
Either way, the show received rave reviews and introduced some of the greatest entertainers in the modern day to the world. A majority of the cast members are doing pretty well both in film and music, which is just one of the many positive things that came out of the show.