Keenen Ivory Wayans
As the head and founding member of the multi-talented Wayans comedy empire, Keenen Ivory Wayans blazed a trail as a comedic actor and stand-up performer in the early 1980s. Though he made strides with guest-starring roles on several popular television shows, Wayans quickly became frustrated with the dearth of meaty comedic roles for African-American actors. He partnered with comedian Robert Townsend to channel his frustrations by co-writing the scathing and hilarious satire, "Hollywood Shuffle" (1987), which parodied the real-life challenges he faced trying to make it in show business. From there, he directed his first feature, "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (1988), which showcased his talent for satire - particularly on issues affecting African-American culture. But Wayans made his biggest impact on the small screen with "In Living Color" (Fox, 1990-95), a groundbreaking, controversial and downright hysterical sketch comedy show that broke down racial stereotypes while introducing the world to Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier. Though he left after its third season and achieved greater success with features like "Scary Movie" (2000), Wayans nonetheless built his legacy and family's comedy dynasty on the back of arguably the best sketch comedy show of the 1990s.