An entertaining yet candid examination of the popular sketch show In Living Color.
When the pilot for In Living Color aired for the first time on April 15, 1990, America had never seen anything like it. And they loved it. Over five seasons, the show broke racial, cultural, and comedy boundaries, creating unforgettable sketches that dealt almost exclusively with Black subject matter.
In Living Color: A Cultural History celebrates the iconic show and its creators, while also providing a conscientious examination of the sketches themselves. Bernadette Giacomazzo reveals how the show successfully tackled topics that are still salient today, from diversity in Hollywood and workplace racism to mass incarceration and “blackfishing,” while other sketches have not aged quite so well. Giacomazzo also looks at how the show helped break the careers of Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, and David Alan Grier, amongst others, and how its most infamous sketches—such as Fire Marshall Bill, Homey the Clown, East Hollywood Squares, and Men on Film—helped shape comedy in the twenty-first century.
In Living Color was one of the few sketch shows of the 1990s that effectively tackled racial and social issues with humor. It did so more successfully than Saturday Night Live ever did, because, unlike the long-standing late-night show, In Living Color had a largely Black writer's room. This cultural history finally gives the influential show and its creators the recognition they deserve for their role in changing the face of television.
Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer who is currently the SEO manager at Blavity, Inc. Her work has been featured in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many more. For nearly a decade, she was the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine. Giacomazzo was also the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine and the Eye Candy editor of XXL Magazine. Based in New York City, Giacomazzo has also worked on various film and television projects and is the author of the critically acclaimed dystopian fiction books, The Uprising Series.