PERFORMING ARTS

Homey Don't Play That! The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution

Atria. Feb. 2018. 400p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781501143328. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781501143366. TV
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OrangeReviewStarAmerican Idiot coauthor Peisner's new book is an in-depth, well-researched look into the success and aftermath of the 1990s TV show In Living Color. Created and produced by Keenen Ivory Wayans, it was a groundbreaking sketch comedy show with an African American perspective that launched many careers such as those of the Wayans family members, Jim Carrey, and Jennifer Lopez. At the time Fox was a struggling fourth-place television network and Color's success helped launch the new network. This book begins with an examination into Wayans's background and then delves into the show's various seasons in historical context. Most of the sketches, such as "Homey the Clown," "Fire Marshal Bill, "Ugly Wanda," and "Star Trek: The Wrath of Farrakhan" are discussed in depth. It's a fascinating glimpse into the intense work needed to create and keep a show running, and how the production's popularity impacted the culture at that time and still reverberates today.
VERDICT Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about the entertainment industry, how their favorite TV shows are created, In Living Color, the Wayans family, Jim Carrey, and African Americans in the entertainment industry.

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