America’s First Family of Comedy, the Wayans
Keenan Ivory and Damon Wayans, the Wayans brothers responsible for their family’s comedic success, wanted to produce a sketch comedy show like Saturday Night Live, but one that cast people of color and had edgier content. In Living Color was born, and from it, we have some of the shiniest stars in American entertainment today. Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, and Jamie Foxx all got their starts on the show, as did David Alan Grier, who graduated from Yale’s drama school where he was trained in Shakespeare, but moved towards comedy, thanks to the show.
In Living Color earned a Primetime Emmy in 1990, an NAACP Image Award, and the TV Land Groundbreaking Show Award. Once it was no longer aired on primetime television, the family went on to pursue other projects. For example, Shawn and Marlon starred, wrote, and co-produced (with Keenan) in the hit movie White Chicks and the sitcom The Wayans Brothers. Kim and her husband co-author the book series, Amy Hodgepodge, which focuses on the hardships of a biracial fourth-grader.
Altogether, the Wayans’ movies have grossed over $1 billion. They are still making the world laugh, starring in and producing shows, partly catapulted by the new generation of Wayans comedians, Damon Jr., Damien, Craig, and Chaunte.