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Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Education  Tuskegee University
Years active  1979–present

Name  Keenen Wayans
Role  Actor
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Born  June 8, 1958 (age 57) (1958-06-08) New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation  Actor, comedian, director, producer, screenwriter
Awards  1990-Emmy Award Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy SeriesIn Living Color (as executive producer)
Spouse  Daphne Wayans (m. 2001–2005)
Siblings  Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Damon Wayans
Movies and TV shows  Scary Movie, White Chicks, In Living Color
Children  Nala Yasmeen Ivory Wayans
Nephews  Damon Wayans - Jr, Michael Wayans, Damien Dante Wayans, Craig Wayans, Gregg Wayans‑Benson
Similar People  Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans, Kim Wayans, Dwayne Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans, Sr. (born June 8, 1958) is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, and a member of the Wayans Family of entertainers. He first came to prominence as the host and co-creator of the 1990–1994 Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color. He has produced, directed and/or written a large number of films, starting with Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote, in 1987. A majority of these films have included him and one or more of his brothers and sisters in the cast. One of these films, Scary Movie (2000), which Wayans directed, was the highest-grossing movie ever directed by an African American until it was surpassed by Tim Story's Fantastic Four in 2005. From 1997 to 1998, he hosted the talk show The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show. Most recently, he was a judge for the eighth season of Last Comic Standing.


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Life and career

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Wayans was born in New York City, son of Howell Stouten Wayans, a supermarket manager, and his wife Elvira Alethia (Green), a homemaker and social worker. His father was a devout Jehovah's Witness. He grew up in Manhattan's Fulton housing projects. Wayans attended Tuskegee University on an engineering scholarship. He entertained his friends at college with made-up stories about life in New York. One semester before graduation, he dropped out of school to focus on comedy.

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During his first set performing at The Improv in New York, Wayans met Robert Townsend, who helped him learn about the comedy business. Wayans moved to Los Angeles in 1980, where he worked as an actor. He had a regular role as a soldier on a television series named "For Love and Honor".

Townsend wrote, directed, and starred in the movie Hollywood Shuffle; Wayans was co-star and co-writer. The movie's success allowed him to raise the money to make I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

Fox Broadcasting Company approached Wayans to offer him his own show. Wayans wanted to produce a variety show, similar to Saturday Night Live, with a cast of people of color that took chances with its content. Fox gave Wayans a lot of freedom with the show, although Fox executives were a bit concerned about the show's content prior to its television debut. Wayans and his brother Damon, Sr. created, wrote, and starred in the show, called In Living Color, an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on the Fox Network from 1990 to 1994.


  • Death Row Comic (Prison Cable Access)
  • Frenchie
  • Ice Man (Homeboy Shopping Network)
  • Tom Brothers (The Brothers Brothers)
  • Wes (Wes & Les)
  • Impressions

  • Arsenio Hall
  • Billy Dee Williams
  • Don Cornelius
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Little Richard
  • Mike Tyson
  • Marsha Warfield
  • Milli (Rob Pilatus) of Milli Vanilli
  • Morgan Freeman (such as Hoke Colburn from Driving Miss Daisy, Principal Joe Clark from Lean on Me)
  • Rick James
  • Steve Harvey
  • Carl Weathers (as Apollo Creed)
  • Writing/producing/directing credits

  • Hollywood Shuffle (1987) (writer)
  • Eddie Murphy Raw (1987) (writer and producer)
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) (writer and director)
  • In Living Color (1990–1992; 2013–) (executive producer, director and creator/writer)
  • The Five Heartbeats (1991) (writer)
  • A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994) (writer and director)
  • Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) (producer)
  • The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show (1997) (executive producer)
  • Most Wanted (1997) (executive producer and writer)
  • Scary Movie (2000) (actor and director)
  • Scary Movie 2 (2001) (director)
  • White Chicks (2004) (producer, director)
  • Little Man (2006) (producer, writer, director)
  • Dance Flick (2009) (producer, writer)
  • References

    Keenen Ivory Wayans Wikipedia