In Living Color: A Cultural History

Rowman & Littlefield. (Cultural History of Television). Feb. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9781538166574. $36. TV
Giacomazzo (Swimming with Sharks) writes a thorough analysis of what a monumental TV show In Living Color came to represent and the sociocultural background that played a role in its shaping. At a time when the fragility of the white identity would not leave a lot of room for Black sketches and comedians, Keenan Ivory Wayans internalized the experience of earlier enterprises like The Richard Pryor Show to create a series that would give the main stage to unapologetic Blackness and Black comedy. Giacomazzo discusses many of the skits that rewrote the history of Black sketch shows, acknowledges episodes that were left out from syndication over the years, and invites readers to look through the cultural lens of the times when they were produced. It is undeniable In Living Color (1990–94) represented an invaluable milestone in opening up a conversation about race and social and cultural justice.
VERDICT A must-read book on the history of a show that molded Black comedy sketches and brings together different threads of social awareness, race, entrepreneurship, comedy, resilience, and bravery in the face of a world not used to seeing “in living color.”
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing