On paper a sketch comedy television show should be a slam dunk. People love them, they’ve been wildly successful in the past, and they don’t have nearly the same amount of demands an episodic television show would have (meaning they can be made on the cheap). The problem is that these sketch comedy shows have attracted some of the funniest and brightest people in television who used their shows to create hilarious and memorable characters, deconstruct comedy, and be side-splittingly funny. There has been a tremendous precedent set by the likes of Tim Conway, Bill Murray, John Belushi, the geniuses of Monty Python, Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, Dave Chappelle, Mike Meyers, Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans that has been hard for others to measure up to.
Listing failed sketch comedy shows in the history of television takes considerably longer than those that have been successful (off the top of my head I’m having a hard time needing two hands to count the number of sketch comedy shows that have actually been good). For every In Living Color there is a dozen Blue Collar TVs to sneer at.
With that Fox is hoping that they can recreate the old magic of In Living Color by bringing back In Living Color. Apparently Fox thinks that the problem with all of their unsuccessful sketch comedy shows in the last 20 years has been that they haven’t been calling them In Living Color, hopefully this will fix everything. In related news I’m going to start calling my Ford Taurus a Toyota Prius, that way I’ll get better gas mileage.
The plan is to have two In Living Color half-our specials to be executive produced and hosted by Keenen Ivory Wayans, that will air in midseason for Fox’s 25 anniversary celebration. If reception is good the show will get picked up as a regular series in the next season. Of course Keenen Ivory Wayans will be bringing in a whole new cast for the show.
It’s strange to try and trade on a name that most people under 25 have no knowledge of but I understand why Mr. Wayans and Fox want to try. At the end of the day the show is still going to have to be funny no matter what you call it. We’ll see soon enough if they can make lightning strike twice.