Iconoclastic comedian Damon Wayans brings his patented brand of insightful, take-no-prisoners humor to Showtime with Damon Wayans - The Underground, a half-hour sketch comedy series to premiere on the network this fall, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime. Currently in pre-production in Los Angeles, the series has received a 10-episode order.
Referring to the riotous, groundbreaking '90s sketch comedy show that launched careers for him, his siblings, Jim Carrey, and David Alan Grier, Wayans says of Damon Wayans - The Underground: "It's 'In Living Color' on steroids…it will be everything we weren't allowed to do on broadcast television." Dean Lorey ("My Wife and Kids") will direct Wayans and fellow writer/ensemble cast members, including Groundlings players Edi Patterson and Mikey Day ("Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'N Out"), and heir apparent, Damon Wayans Jr., among others.
"Damon Wayans is one of the most original and most versatile comic actors and writer/producers working in this business today," said Greenblatt. "He's done everything from hit films to a hit sitcom, but I know he has a very warm spot in his heart for the days of 'In Living Color,' and he intends to push the boundaries of the almost-forgotten sketch comedy genre with 'The Underground.' I'm thrilled to bring him to Showtime where we will provide him the freedom to express his unique comedic voice in a way that only premium television can offer."
While the show will feature recurring sketch characters, parodies of pop culture and a new generation of sketch performers alongside Damon, it will also feature more sketches filmed outside the studio along with an eclectic mix of dance, music, and other visual arts used as interstitial moments. There may also be some fly-on-the-wall glimpses into behind-the-scenes moments showing how this show is put together and how the sketches develop, a complex and funny process that the audience will enjoy.
A middle child of the ten preternaturally comic Wayans brood, the actor/comedian gained a loyal following in the early '80s as a New York-based stand-up comic, ultimately landing a brief stint as a featured player on "Saturday Night Live." After wowing audiences with a trio of HBO specials, Wayans headed to Los Angeles to join the cast of "In Living Color," the Emmy® Award-winning show created by elder brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans. His writing and portrayal of over-the-top characters like "Homey the Clown" and film critic "Blaine Edwards" thrilled audiences, spawned catchphrases ("Homey don't play dat!," "Hated it!") and earned him two Emmy® nominations. For five seasons, Wayans headlined the successful ABC sitcom, "My Wife and Kids," currently in syndication. In addition to television roles, Wayans has starred in several feature films, including Spike Lee's Bamboozled, Marci X, and Mo' Money. In 1999, he penned a best-selling novel, Bootleg.