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Living in Color
Cover of Living in Color
Living in Color
What's Funny About Me: Stories from In Living Color, Pop Culture, and the Stand-Up Comedy Scene of the 80s & 90s
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"Tommy Davidson is a journeyman performer. He knows the how and the what and his timing is off the hook. He's one of my favorite performers. Oh and did I mention he's funny, REALLY funny."
—Whoopi Goldberg


In this revealing memoir, Tommy Davidson shares his unique perspective on making it in Hollywood, being an integral part of television history, on fame and family, and on living a life that has never been black and white—just funny and true . . .

Abandoned as an infant on the streets of Greenville, Mississippi, and rescued by a loving white family, Tommy Davidson spent most of his childhood unaware that he was different from his brother and sister. All that changed as he came of age in a society of racial barriers—ones that he was soon to help break. On a fledgling network, Tommy joined the cast of In Living Color, alongside other relative newcomers all united by an ingenious throng of Wayans siblings, poised to break new ground.

Now Tommy gives readers the never-before-told behind-the-scenes story of the first show born of the Hip Hop Nation: from its incredible rise, to his own creation of such unforgettable characters as Sweet Tooth Jones and dead-on impressions of Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Jackson, M.C. Hammer and Sugar Ray Leonard, and appearing in such classic sketches as "Homie The Clown," the "Hey Mon, family," and the "Ugly Woman," through guest-star skirmishes (and black eyes) to backstage tensions and the eventual fall of this pop-culture touchstone. He reveals his own nascent career on the stand-up circuit, as well as reflections on working with Spike Lee, Halle Berry, Chris Rock, and Jada Pinkett Smith. He also shares his very personal story of living with—and being inspired and empowered by—two distinct family histories.

Told with humor and hard-won honesty, Living in Color is a bracing, illuminating, and remarkable success story.
"Tommy Davidson is a journeyman performer. He knows the how and the what and his timing is off the hook. He's one of my favorite performers. Oh and did I mention he's funny, REALLY funny."
—Whoopi Goldberg


In this revealing memoir, Tommy Davidson shares his unique perspective on making it in Hollywood, being an integral part of television history, on fame and family, and on living a life that has never been black and white—just funny and true . . .

Abandoned as an infant on the streets of Greenville, Mississippi, and rescued by a loving white family, Tommy Davidson spent most of his childhood unaware that he was different from his brother and sister. All that changed as he came of age in a society of racial barriers—ones that he was soon to help break. On a fledgling network, Tommy joined the cast of In Living Color, alongside other relative newcomers all united by an ingenious throng of Wayans siblings, poised to break new ground.

Now Tommy gives readers the never-before-told behind-the-scenes story of the first show born of the Hip Hop Nation: from its incredible rise, to his own creation of such unforgettable characters as Sweet Tooth Jones and dead-on impressions of Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Jackson, M.C. Hammer and Sugar Ray Leonard, and appearing in such classic sketches as "Homie The Clown," the "Hey Mon, family," and the "Ugly Woman," through guest-star skirmishes (and black eyes) to backstage tensions and the eventual fall of this pop-culture touchstone. He reveals his own nascent career on the stand-up circuit, as well as reflections on working with Spike Lee, Halle Berry, Chris Rock, and Jada Pinkett Smith. He also shares his very personal story of living with—and being inspired and empowered by—two distinct family histories.

Told with humor and hard-won honesty, Living in Color is a bracing, illuminating, and remarkable success story.
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About the Author-
  • Tommy Davidson's three decades of success as a performer in TV, film, and as one of the most popular standup comedians and cable comedy special performers, has earned him a huge and devoted worldwide following. From being discovered at the Apollo Theater's amateur night to starring in the original cast of In Living Color and appearing in films including Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls with Jim Carrey, and Spike Lee's Bamboozled, he is also known to a generation raised on the animated characters he has voiced, such as Oscar Proud of the Disney animated series The Proud Family. Today, he performs all over the country doing sold out solo shows as well as being a frequent guest on national and local morning TV and radio programs, and has performed numerous times for the troops all over the world including in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tom Teicholz is an award-winning journalist, contributor to Forbes.com, and cohost of The Buried Lede podcast.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2020

    Comedy is craft and Davidson is craftsman in this engrossing memoir, cowritten with journalist Teicholz. Davidson chronicles his neglect and abandonment as a toddler; his adoption by a loving family; his hard-won successes performing stand-up in New York, California, and Washington, DC; and, finally, his role on In Living Color (1990-95), Keenen Ivory Wayans's pioneering sketch show, one of the first to feature a predominantly black cast. Fans will relish insider descriptions of the program's early seasons and of Davidson's interactions with future stars such as Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, and Wayans's brothers Damon, Shawn, and Marlon. Davidson balances praise and criticisms of the show's defining personalities--including himself. Indeed, his keen observations bring the book to life, candidly describing his triumphs and setbacks and emphasizing the dedication that underlies seemingly effortless comedy. VERDICT This heartfelt memoir of an expansive career will resonate with fans of In Living Color, stand-up, sketch shows, and entertainment biographies.--Robin Chin Roemer, Univ. of Washington Lib., Seattle

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 13, 2020
    In this entertaining memoir, comedian Davidson, known for his role in the 1990s comedy series In Living Color, recounts his family, his rise to fame, and his struggle with addiction. Davidson was born in 1963 Mississippi to a young African-American mother who abandoned him by leaving him in a trash heap when he was two. A white, socially conscious teacher rescued
    and adopted him. “Seeing the world through the prism of black and white is a talent I have,” Davidson writes. He then tells of living in Washington, D.C., as an adolescent, where he performed in comedy clubs, and of his eventual move to Los Angeles, where he landed a spot on In Living Color. He affectionately discusses his costars Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, and Keenan Ivory Wayans, who “believed that competition would yield better written and better acted scripts.” Over the course of his career, Davidson developed an addiction to cocaine, but credits the intervention of Adrienne Banfield-Jones, a former heroin user and the mother of actress Jada Pinkett Smith, for saving him. The book reaches its zenith when Davidson, as he relays in thoughtful, evenhanded prose, meets his biological mother, forgiving her while acknowledging that the white woman who raised him is his true mother. This is a sure hit for fans of Davidson and In Living Color.

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    Kensington Books
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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Living in Color
Living in Color
What's Funny About Me: Stories from In Living Color, Pop Culture, and the Stand-Up Comedy Scene of the 80s & 90s
Tommy Davidson
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