Though the two offer differing brands of entertainment, Keenen said respect is due to Tyler who caters to an under-served audience and gives opportunities to many Black actors.
“Everybody has their audience. If you’re not Tyler’s audience you may not like what he does, but he has a huge audience. There are people out there who love what he does. I gotta give the man his respect and his props,” Keenen said during an interview on “The Breakfast Club” radio show.
Keenen, who has led his brothers, sister and nephews into Hollywood infamy, knows a thing or two about blazing your own trail. “In Living Color” was as controversial as Tyler’s Madea character (for different reasons), but survived for five seasons, even earning a Primetime Emmy award in 1990.
Though there were rumors that the show would return, Keenen said online competition and a high reputation to live up to thwarted those plans.
“The original ‘In Living Color’ set the bar so high that if you’re not going to meet that, then you gotta leave it alone,” he said. “We did a great pilot, but six months from now, where are we gonna be? It didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like the longevity was going to be there.”
Some of the most memorable skits on “In Living Color” weren’t exactly politically correct and while that was apparently well-received in the ‘90s, Keenen’s not sure they would fly today.
“We’re in such a state of political correctness and the hypocrisy behind it is behind closed doors, everybody’s popping noise, but they’re doing it undercover. I like it when it’s out in the open,” he said, mentioning celebrity chef Paula Deen who recently lost endorsements after admitting her use of the N-word.
Keenen pointed out that he and his brothers have been equal opportunity offenders, poking fun at all races, sexual orientations, the disabled and more.
“What made people step back and accept it, was we made fun of everybody. If we were just making fun of gay people, then they probably wouldn’t have,” he said of the popular “Men On…” skits. “If you gonna laugh at me, you gotta be able to laugh at you. That’s sort of the philosophy of the show.”
Laughing at themselves has had the Wayans clan laughing to the bank for decades, and Keenen said there’s more to come. He’s working on a new film, and a sequel to White Chicks is in the works.
“It is all about family for all of us. That’s where it begins right there. That’s your source,” he said.
Keenen talks about his ex, “In Living Color” stars, celebrity beefs and more. Watch.
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Photos: Famous Families