In Living Color
American actress and comedian Kim Wayans gained her first break as a standup comedian. She rose to fame alongside her brothers Keenen, Damon, Marlon and Shawn on the Fox comedy sketch show “In Living Color,” where she impersonated numerous celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Whitney Houston, and created such original characters as Benita Butrell and Mrs. Brooks. Since then, Wayans has worked in movies like “I'm Gonna Git You Sucka” (1988), “A Low Down Dirty Shame” (1994), “Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (1996) and the “Thugaboo” TV movie series (2006). She jointly received BET Comedy nominations for her direction and writing on Damon's sitcom “My Wife and Kids,” which ran on ABC from 2001-2005. Kim has also appeared in “A Different World” (1987-1988), the sitcom “In the House” (1995-1998) and the motion pictures “Talking About Sex” (1994) and “Juwanna Mann” (2002). She recently starred in director Dee Rees’ “Pariah” (2011).
Childhood and Family:
Kim Wayans was born on October 1, 1961, in New York City, New York, to Howell and Elvira. She was raised in the Chelsea section of New York City with her nine siblings, Dwayne, Keenen, Damon, Nadia, Marlon, Shawn Elvira, Diedre and Vonnie. After graduating from Seward Park High School, she won a scholarship at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. While there, she wrote a book of short stories as her senior thesis.
My Wife and Kids
A member of a family of comedians, Kim Wayans followed in the footsteps of her older brothers, Keenen and Damon, to pursue a show business career in Hollywood. Relocating in 1987, she was soon booked to do standup comedy at such clubs like The Improv. She made her feature acting debut with a bit part in Robert Townsend's “Hollywood Shuffle” (1987). Later that same year, she broke into television playing the recurring role of Allison in the NBC sitcom “A Different World.” Six months after leaving the show, she played Cameo Candette on two episodes of the series “China Beach” (1988).
It was also in 1988 that Kim teamed up with Keenen for the comedy “I'm Gonna Git You Sucka,” in which her brother cast her as a nightclub singer, opposite their brothers Damon and Marlon. She also served as a production assistant for the film. Two years later, Kim enjoyed the television spotlight when she joined the cast of the comedy sketch show “In Living Color,” which was created by Keenen and also featured Damon, Shawn and Marlon. While on the show, she parodied such celebrities as Whitney Houston, Vanessa L. Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Della Reese and originated characters like Benita Butrell, Mrs. Brooks and Laquita. She left the Emmy award winning series in 1993, shortly before the show came to its demise in 1994.
Kim next starred as Andie Norman in the independent film “Talking About Sex” (1994), made a cameo appearance in Peter McCarthy's comedy “Floundering” (1994), and played the supporting role of Diane in “A Low Down Dirty Shame” (also 1994), which was written, directed by and starred Keenen. She also appeared as Mrs. Johnson in the comedy “Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (1996), in which Marlon and Shawn co-wrote the script and starred as Loc Dog and Ashtray, respectively, and portrayed Bettina in the indie drama “Critics and Other Freaks” (1997).
In late 1995, Kim returned to the small screen with a recurring role on the NBC sitcom “In the House,” playing a business partner of ex-pro athlete Marion Hill (played by LL Cool J). When the show moved to UPN in the fall of 1996, her role was evolved into a regular part. She remained with the show until March 1998. From 1996 to 1997, she also provided the voice of mom in the cartoon series “Waynehead,” which was produced by Damon and featured Marlon and Shawn.
After leaving “In the House,” Kim guest starred as Rhonda in the sitcom “Getting Personal” and Cousin Sheila in the Shawn/Marlon vehicle “The Wayans Bros.” (1998). She revisited film in the basketball flick “Juwanna Mann” (2002), opposite Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Kevin Pollak and Vivica A. Fox. It was also in 2002 that Kim joined the ABC comedy series “My Wife and Kids” (2001-2005), which starred and was created by Damon, as a story editor. She also directed, wrote and produced several episodes of the show and for her work on the series jointly nabbed BET Comedy nominations for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (both 2005).
In 2006, Kim voiced Momma/Joyce in the Shawn directed animated TV films “The Wayans Family Presents: Thugaboo - Sneaker Madness” and “Thugaboo: A Miracle on D-Roc's Street.” She followed it up with a role in the television film “What News” (2007), a comedy written by Bruce McCoy and Todd Milliner. Among her costars in the film were Chris Dougherty, John Farley, Kevin McDonald and Heather McDonald.
Kim recently starred as Audrey in director Dee Rees’ drama “Pariah.”