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Keenen Ivory Wayans

Comedian, Director & Writer; Known for "White Chicks" and "In Living Color"

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 Keenen Ivory Wayans Biography

The trail-blazing linchpin of a sprawling African-American family of comic entertainers, it was multi-talented writer/director/producer Keenen Ivory Wayans (born June 8, 1958, in New York City) who was the first to achieve national prominence by successfully creating, launching and hosting a landmark 1990s black-oriented comedy satire on Fox TV. That, in turn, ignited and/or advanced the careers of not only his younger siblings Damon, Kim, Shawn and Marlon, but others of his extended family as well.

The second of ten children of Howell Wayans, a grocery store manager, and Elvira Wayans, a social worker, Keenan attended Seward Park High School, and then majored in engineering at Alabama's Tuskegee University. He dropped out during his senior year when the comedy bug hit him full force. Heavily influenced by Richard Pryor, he found only lukewarm success on the New York standup stage, deciding later to relocate to Los Angeles in order to pursue film and TV opportunities. After being glimpsed in bit parts in such TV shows as "CHiPs" (1977) and "Cheers" (1982) and movies as Star 80 (1983), in which he played a standup comic, he found his first real break in a sudsy TV drama--the short-lived military series "For Love and Honor" (1983), in which he had a recurring role as Pvt. Duke Johnson, who aspired to become a professional boxer.

After hooking up with comedian Eddie Murphy and earning writing credit on the star's raunchy live performance feature Eddie Murphy Raw (1987), Keenen's visibility rose. Partnering with actor/director Robert Townsend, he had his first film hit with Hollywood Shuffle (1987), a pointed satire highlighting the plight of the black actor in Hollywood. Done in hilariously stereotypical fashion, one great bit had detective Townsend battling a blaxploitation villain named Jerry Curl (Wayans).

Following this came another similar 1970s blaxploitation parody, the even bigger hit I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) in which Keenen had the starring role and made his directorial debut. He played the revenge-minded, but not particularly macho Jack Spade alongside such icons of 1970s blaxploitation cinema as Jim Brown, Isaac Hayes and Bernie Casey. The film also featured several members of his family.

The sketch-oriented, Emmy-winning variety series "In Living Color" (1990) was Keenen's creative baby and ultimate pièce de résistance. He also turned the show into a family act as well with Damon, Kim, Marlon and Shawn all appearing on the irreverent series that showcased the deviously scathing social humor Keenen was infamous for.

As host of the show he graciously spotlighted the comedy ensemble more than himself. Not only did the show introduce the public to a number of terrific black comedians, it made superstars out of brother Damon, as well as Jamie Foxx and Jim Carrey, the latter being one of the show's few white regulars. Jennifer Lopez also got her start as one of the original hip-hop dancing, sexy "Fly Girls."

Ironically, Keenen would be one of the first of the cast to leave the show over creative issues and contract disputes with the network. He felt Fox was overexposing the show, which would have reduced its monetary value once it turned to syndication. He abruptly left in 1992 and, by next season's end; the rest of the Wayans clan had bailed as well. Nearly half of the regular cast on the show's final season were white.

This unfortunately bitter and acrimonious incident led the one-time driving force to become more selective in his projects, while retreating more and more behind the scenes. In 1997, however, he produced "The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show" (1997), a party-themed talk show in which he served as the cool, urban-styled host. The set resembled a nightclub and the atmosphere was rowdy and jaunty. The show wasn't cool enough, apparently, as it was canceled before year's end.

Keenen also tried to turn buff action star with the films A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994), which he wrote and directed, The Glimmer Man (1996), pairing up with Steven Seagal, and Most Wanted (1997), but the attempt backfired and he dropped, big time, out of the limelight.

When it comes to outrageous satire Keenen has few peers. Come the millennium he directed the hilarious horror spoof Scary Movie (2000), which prominently displayed brothers Shawn and Marlon and is one of the most successful feature films ever directed by an African-American. He also directed its first sequel, Scary Movie 2 (2001). Keeping that family affair going, Keenen directed Shawn and Marlon in White Chicks (2004), produced, wrote and directed Little Man (2006) starring Shawn Marlon and produced and wrote Dance Flick (2009), which starred Damien Dante Wayans.

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  • HOW TO BOOK Keenen Ivory Wayans?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Keenen Ivory Wayans for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Keenen Ivory Wayans, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Keenen Ivory Wayans or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Keenen Ivory Wayans?

    Booking fees for Keenen Ivory Wayans, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Keenen Ivory Wayans, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Keenen Ivory Wayans?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Keenen Ivory Wayans for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Keenen Ivory Wayans for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Keenen Ivory Wayans or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Keenen Ivory Wayans or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Keenen Ivory Wayans

Comedian, Director & Writer; Known for "White Chicks" and "In Living Color"

Travels From:
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Speaking Fee:

Keenen Ivory Wayans Biography

The trail-blazing linchpin of a sprawling African-American family of comic entertainers, it was multi-talented writer/director/producer Keenen Ivory Wayans (born June 8, 1958, in New York City) who was the first to achieve national prominence by successfully creating, launching and hosting a landmark 1990s black-oriented comedy satire on Fox TV. That, in turn, ignited and/or advanced the careers of not only his younger siblings Damon, Kim, Shawn and Marlon, but others of his extended family as well.

The second of ten children of Howell Wayans, a grocery store manager, and Elvira Wayans, a social worker, Keenan attended Seward Park High School, and then majored in engineering at Alabama's Tuskegee University. He dropped out during his senior year when the comedy bug hit him full force. Heavily influenced by Richard Pryor, he found only lukewarm success on the New York standup stage, deciding later to relocate to Los Angeles in order to pursue film and TV opportunities. After being glimpsed in bit parts in such TV shows as "CHiPs" (1977) and "Cheers" (1982) and movies as Star 80 (1983), in which he played a standup comic, he found his first real break in a sudsy TV drama--the short-lived military series "For Love and Honor" (1983), in which he had a recurring role as Pvt. Duke Johnson, who aspired to become a professional boxer.

After hooking up with comedian Eddie Murphy and earning writing credit on the star's raunchy live performance feature Eddie Murphy Raw (1987), Keenen's visibility rose. Partnering with actor/director Robert Townsend, he had his first film hit with Hollywood Shuffle (1987), a pointed satire highlighting the plight of the black actor in Hollywood. Done in hilariously stereotypical fashion, one great bit had detective Townsend battling a blaxploitation villain named Jerry Curl (Wayans).

Following this came another similar 1970s blaxploitation parody, the even bigger hit I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) in which Keenen had the starring role and made his directorial debut. He played the revenge-minded, but not particularly macho Jack Spade alongside such icons of 1970s blaxploitation cinema as Jim Brown, Isaac Hayes and Bernie Casey. The film also featured several members of his family.

The sketch-oriented, Emmy-winning variety series "In Living Color" (1990) was Keenen's creative baby and ultimate pièce de résistance. He also turned the show into a family act as well with Damon, Kim, Marlon and Shawn all appearing on the irreverent series that showcased the deviously scathing social humor Keenen was infamous for.

As host of the show he graciously spotlighted the comedy ensemble more than himself. Not only did the show introduce the public to a number of terrific black comedians, it made superstars out of brother Damon, as well as Jamie Foxx and Jim Carrey, the latter being one of the show's few white regulars. Jennifer Lopez also got her start as one of the original hip-hop dancing, sexy "Fly Girls."

Ironically, Keenen would be one of the first of the cast to leave the show over creative issues and contract disputes with the network. He felt Fox was overexposing the show, which would have reduced its monetary value once it turned to syndication. He abruptly left in 1992 and, by next season's end; the rest of the Wayans clan had bailed as well. Nearly half of the regular cast on the show's final season were white.

This unfortunately bitter and acrimonious incident led the one-time driving force to become more selective in his projects, while retreating more and more behind the scenes. In 1997, however, he produced "The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show" (1997), a party-themed talk show in which he served as the cool, urban-styled host. The set resembled a nightclub and the atmosphere was rowdy and jaunty. The show wasn't cool enough, apparently, as it was canceled before year's end.

Keenen also tried to turn buff action star with the films A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994), which he wrote and directed, The Glimmer Man (1996), pairing up with Steven Seagal, and Most Wanted (1997), but the attempt backfired and he dropped, big time, out of the limelight.

When it comes to outrageous satire Keenen has few peers. Come the millennium he directed the hilarious horror spoof Scary Movie (2000), which prominently displayed brothers Shawn and Marlon and is one of the most successful feature films ever directed by an African-American. He also directed its first sequel, Scary Movie 2 (2001). Keeping that family affair going, Keenen directed Shawn and Marlon in White Chicks (2004), produced, wrote and directed Little Man (2006) starring Shawn Marlon and produced and wrote Dance Flick (2009), which starred Damien Dante Wayans.

Keenen Ivory Wayans Videos

  • On Story 802: A Conversation with Keenen Ivory Wayans - YouTube
    Apr 21, 2018 ... Entertainment trailblazer writer/director/producer Keenen Ivory Wayans achieved national prominence when he created the...
  • Keenen Ivory Wayans discusses the start of "In Living Color ...
    Jan 23, 2014 ... See the full interview at http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/keenen -ivory-wayans.

FAQs on booking Keenen Ivory Wayans

  • How to book Keenen Ivory Wayans?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Keenen Ivory Wayans for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Keenen Ivory Wayans, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Keenen Ivory Wayans or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Keenen Ivory Wayans?

    Booking fees for Keenen Ivory Wayans, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Keenen Ivory Wayans, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Keenen Ivory Wayans?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Keenen Ivory Wayans for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Keenen Ivory Wayans for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Keenen Ivory Wayans or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Keenen Ivory Wayans or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Keenen Ivory Wayans is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Keenen Ivory Wayans for your event is $50,000 - $100,000. Keenen Ivory Wayans generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Spike Lee, Issa Rae, Will Packer, Jordan Peele and Lee Daniels. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Keenen Ivory Wayans for an upcoming event.

Keenen Ivory Wayans Speaker Videos

  • On Story 802: A Conversation with Keenen Ivory Wayans - YouTube
    Apr 21, 2018 ... Entertainment trailblazer writer/director/producer Keenen Ivory Wayans achieved national prominence when he created the culturally ...
    Keenen Ivory Wayans discusses the start of "In Living Color ...
    Jan 23, 2014 ... See the full interview at http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/keenen -ivory-wayans.

Keenen Ivory Wayans News

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Speakers Similar to Keenen Ivory Wayans

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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