From 1990-1994, The Fox sketch comedy show In Living Color had audiences laughing out loud and network censors working overtime. The show’s in-your-face comedy was always outrageous, bulldozing the boundaries of good taste with such skits as Handi Man (a handicapped superhero) and Vera de Milo (a steroid using bodybuilder, played by Jim Carrey clad in pigtails and a bikini top that left nothing to the imagination). Who could have guessed this Emmy-award winning show would be the starting point for some big stars? Wonder where they are now? Take a look:
As the show’s most famous alum, Jim Carrey had been performing comedy acts for almost 10 years before he joined the cast. A chance meeting with Damon Wayans—whom he met on the set of the 1988 film Earth Girls Are Easy—landed him a spot on the show. His performances as Fire Marshall Bill and Vanilla Ice showed his gift for physical comedy. After the show ended, Carrey began his journey to stardom with the hit film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Over the years, he distinguished himself with performances in The Truman Show (1998), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and Horton Hears a Who (2008), where he provided the lead voice work. Last year, Carrey self-published a children’s book titled Roland Rolls. He also appeared in two skits on the comedy video website, Funny or Die. This year, he reportedly will begin work on the Dumb and Dumber sequel, Dumb and Dumber To.
At some time after she was Jenny on the Block, but before she was J. Lo, Jennifer Lopez was a Fly Girl—one of the dance troupe that gave the show its hip hop flair. Her spot on the show was due to the show’s choreographer, Rosie Perez, at least according to Perez’s 2014 memoir. According to the book, the future diva was, well, a diva. She competed with the other dancers over makeup and wardrobe and complained about being treated unfairly. She left the show after two seasons, but soon became a megastar and darling of the paparazzi. Her romances with Sean “Diddy” Combs, Ben Affleck, and Marc Anthony drew countless headlines. In 2008, she gave birth to twins, but divorced Marc Anthony three years later. In 2012, she starred in the film What to Expect When You’re Expecting, then co-starred with Jason Statham in Parker. She is currently one of the judges on American Idol, alongside Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban.
Born Eric Marlon Bishop, Jamie Foxx joined the cast of In Living Color in 1991. His most famous character was Wanda, the world’s ugliest woman, whose homeliness was so severe it once prompted Dracula to vaporize himself with sunlight. Foxx has been in the spotlight ever since his days on the show. He had his own sitcom for five years, followed by notable film roles. In 2004, he struck Hollywood gold: nabbing both a nomination for his supporting role in Collateral and winning the Best Actor award for his performance in Ray. In 2011, he was cast by Quentin Tarantino in the title role of Django Unchained. This May he will appear as Electro, in The Amazing Spiderman 2. Pretty soon, he may need to make space on his mantle for another Academy Award: Foxx reportedly is set to play the title role in an upcoming Steven Spielberg-produced biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr.
David Alan Grier
Zorro snap in Z formation! Perhaps best known for his role as Antoine Merriweather, the finger-snapping culture vulture from the show’s Men on Film skits, David Alan Grier went on to star in various film, Broadway, and TV roles. He has been nominated for three Tony Awards, despite once starring in a stage adaptation of Dreamgirls. Apparently not learning his lesson, he recently appeared in a television version of another Hollywood stinker, Bad Teacher. Unfortunately, critics “hated it” and the show was cancelled after three episodes.
Keenen Ivory Wayans
The show’s host, Keenen Ivory Wayans, would often kick off the show following a frenetic dance routine by the show’s Fly Girls. As a co-creator, Wayans had ongoing disputes with Fox over the show’s content and, by the third season, he no longer showed up in skits. By the fourth season, he only appeared on the show briefly. By the final season, he and his siblings had left the show. But Wayans went on to creating and directing bigger and better projects—Scary Movie, anyone? The irreverent spoof on popular horror flicks continues to be the highest grossing movie made by an African American. These days, Wayans continues to work behind the scenes in film, do stand up, and serves as a guest judge this year on the reality TV show Last Comic Standing.
A co-creator of In Living Color along with brother Keenan, Damon Wayans played perhaps the show’s most famous character: Homey D. Clown—an ex-con who must perform as a clown as part of his parole. He would lead school kids in rants against “The Man” as well as bludgeon naysayers with a sock of pennies. Damon left the show in 1992 in solidarity with his brother, and after a few short-lived television projects, he went on to pen a New York Times bestseller entitled Bootleg, a hilarious tribute to his family. From 2001-2005, he starred on the ABC show My Wife and Kids. These days he continues to do stand up comedy around the country, but joke we'll always remember him by is: "Homey don't play dat."