Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans
KeenenIvoryWayansHWOFMay2013.jpg
Wayans in 2013
Born (1958-06-08) June 8, 1958 (age 57)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Tuskegee University
Occupation Actor, Comedian, Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Years active 1979–present
Awards 1990-Emmy Award Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
In Living Color (as executive producer)

Keenen Ivory Wayans, Sr. (born June 8, 1958) is an American actor, comedian, producer, director and writer, and a member of the Wayans Family of entertainers. He first came to prominence as the host and co-creator of the 1990-1994 Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color. He has produced, directed and/or written a large number of films, starting with Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote, in 1987. A majority of these films have included him and one or more of his brothers and sisters in the cast. One of these films, Scary Movie (2000), which Wayans directed, was the highest-grossing movie ever directed by an African American until it was surpassed by Tim Story's Fantastic Four in 2005. From 1997 to 1998, he hosted the talk show The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show.[1] Most recently, he was a judge for the eighth season of Last Comic Standing.

Life and career[edit]

Wayans was born in New York City, son of Howell Wayans, a supermarket manager, and his wife Elvira, a homemaker and social worker. His father[citation needed] was a devout Jehovah's Witness.[2][3][4] He grew up in Manhattan's Fulton housing projects.[5] Wayans attended Tuskegee University on an engineering scholarship.[5] He entertained his friends at college with made-up stories about life in New York.[6] One semester before graduation, he dropped out of school in order focus on comedy.[7]

During his first set performing at The Improv in New York, Wayans met Robert Townsend, who helped him learn about the comedy business.[6] Wayans moved to Los Angeles in 1980, where he worked as an actor.[6] He had a regular role as a soldier on a television series named "For Love and Honor".[6]

Townsend wrote, directed, and stared in the movie Hollywood Shuffle; Wayans was co-star and co-writer.[6] The movie's success allowed him to raise the money to make I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.[6]

Fox Broadcasting Company approached Wayans to offer him his own show.[8] Wayans wanted to produce a variety show, similar to Saturday Night Live, with a cast of people of color that took chances with its content.[5] Fox gave Wayans a lot of freedom with the show, although Fox executives were a bit concerned about the show's content prior to its television debut.[8] Wayans and his brother Damon, Sr. created, wrote, and starred in the show, called In Living Color, an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on the Fox Network from 1990 to 1994.

In Living Color[edit]

Characters[edit]

  • Death Row Comic (Prison Cable Access)
  • Frenchie
  • Ice Man (Homeboy Shopping Network)
  • Tom Brothers (The Brothers Brothers)
  • Wes (Wes & Less)

Impressions[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
1983 Star 80 Comic
1987 A Different World Professor Lawrence
1987 Hollywood Shuffle Donald/Jheri Curl
1988 I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Jack Spade
1994 A Low Down Dirty Shame Shame
1996 Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood Mailman
1996 The Glimmer Man Det. Jim Campbell
1997 Most Wanted Gunnery Sergeant James Dunn
2000 Scary Movie Slave (Amistad II)
2009 Dance Flick Mr. Stache

Writing/producing/directing credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Braxton, Greg (1997-08-03). "Will 'Hip' Equal 'Hit'?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  2. ^ Keenen Ivory Wayans Biography (1958-)
  3. ^ Stein, Joel (2000-09-11). "Marlon Wayans". Time. 
  4. ^ The Movie Chicks - Interview - Marlon Wayans
  5. ^ a b c Laurence, Robert P. (April 13, 1990). "Is prime time ready for rudeness? Fox's new comedy 'In Living Color' will offend some, tickle others". The San Diego Union. p. E1. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hughes, Mike (April 13, 1990). "Laughing with 'Living Color'". USA Today. 
  7. ^ McIntyre, Mike (February 16, 1989). "Keenen Wayans gambles and wins on an offbeat 'Sucka'". The San Diego Union. p. E3. 
  8. ^ a b "New Fox Show Pokes Fun at Black Stereotypes". Associated Press (Greensboro, North Carolina: Greensboro News & Record). April 12, 1990. p. B6. 
  9. ^ cbsfilms.com, "CBS Films partners with Tristar to develop ‘It Takes A Village’". Accessed 24 September 2010.

External links[edit]