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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.”
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.
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.