Keenen Ivory Desuma Wayans, Sr. is an American actor, comedian, director, writer, and producer best known for being a member of the Wayans family. He first rose to prominence as the host, cast member, and creator of the sketch comedy variety show, In Living Color on FOX. He is also known for being the writer and director of films such as I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, the first two Scary Movie films, White Chicks, and Little Man. Wayans also briefly hosted his own talk-show, The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show which aired from 1997 to 1998.
Wayans began his career performing at "The Improv" in New York which is where he met fellow comedian Robert Townsend, who helped teach Wayans about the comedy business. The two comedians drove across the country to Los Angeles together which is where Wayans would later move to in 1980. The two wouldn't speak for a year until they started working on the film Hollywood Shuffle, which was released in 1987. Wayans helped co-write the film and also starred as "Donald". In the same year, Wayans was credited as a writer and producer for Eddie Murphy Raw.
After the success of Hollywood Shuffle, Wayans took the money he earned from the film to make I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, a blaxploitation parody film that was solely written and directed by Wayans himself while also starring as the lead role of "Soldier Jack Spade". After the release of I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, the Fox Broadcasting Company approached Wayans with an offer to have his own show on their network. Wayans would go on to create the sketch-comedy variety show, In Living Color. The show was similar to Saturday Night Live but featured a cast of people of color and would take a lot of risks with it's content. The series starred Wayans (who was also a writer and the host of the show), his siblings Damon, Shawn, Kim, and later Marlon with comedians such as Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, and Tommy Davidson. However, Wayans stopped appearing in sketches for the show after the third season due to Fox censoring the show's content and rerunning the show without his consultation. Then in the fourth season, Wayans only appeared in the show opener (until the thirteenth episode) but remained a executive producer.
From 1997 to 1998, he hosted his own talk show, The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show. In 2000, Wayans directed the horror comedy film Scary Movie, which also starred his siblings Shawn and Marlon Wayans. He would also direct the sequel that was released a year later. In 2004, Wayans co-wrote, produced, and directed the comedy film White Chicks starring his brothers Shawn and Marlon (who both also co-wrote and produced the film). In 2006, Wayans collaborated with Shawn and Marlon again for the comedy film titled Little Man. In 2009, Wayans was credited as a writer and producer for the parody comedy film, Dance Flick.
In 2013, Wayans and FOX had attempted to revive In Living Color as pilot episodes were filmed with a new cast and new line-up of Fly Girls but the reboot was cancelled once Wayans and FOX felt that the show wouldn't be sustainable after it's first season. A year later, Wayans starred as a judge on the eighth season of Last Comic Standing on NBC.
- In 1983, Wayans appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
- Wayans was in a long term relationship with actress Brittany Daniel, who had also starred in his films: White Chicks and Little Man.
- Wayans is a vegetarian and a supporter of the animals rights group, PETA.
- In 2003, Wayans filed for divorce from his wife of three years and he was sought joint custody of his five children.
- Wayans has written for projects such as The Five Heartbeats, Hammer, Slammer, & Slade, A Party for Richard Pryor, and more.
- Wayans revealed in a interview that he didn't enjoy the experience of his late night talk show.