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Why can’t i watch in Living Color?

In Living Color was a groundbreaking sketch comedy series that originally aired on Fox from 1990 to 1994. The show helped launch the careers of comedians like Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and David Alan Grier. Sadly, In Living Color is not currently available to stream on any major platforms. There are a few reasons why this classic show has remained elusive in the streaming era.

Music Licensing Issues

One of the major hurdles to getting In Living Color on a streaming service is clearing all of the music that was used in the original episodes. The show was known for its creative use of popular songs and music videos to enhance the comedy. Clearing all of those music rights today for streaming would likely be extremely difficult and expensive. Some key examples of music used on In Living Color include:

Song Artist
U Can’t Touch This MC Hammer
Ice Ice Baby Vanilla Ice
Hip Hop Hooray Naughty by Nature

Trying to get licenses to stream all of those songs today would be a massive legal and financial challenge.

Lack of Streaming Deals

Another big reason In Living Color is not available to stream is that the owners of the series have not yet made streaming licensing deals. The rights to In Living Color are currently owned by Fox’s television division. To get the show on a streaming platform like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, the streamer would need to strike a deal with Fox.

However, the owners may be holding out to try and maximize their potential revenue from the series. With nostalgia for 1990s content very popular right now, Fox may be biding their time until they get an offer they feel matches the show’s current value. They also may prefer to keep the series in their back catalogue until they launch their own streaming service. Without a lucrative deal that makes sense for the owners, it’s unlikely we’ll see In Living Color hit any streaming services anytime soon.

Controversial Content

In Living Color was known for pushing boundaries and tackling controversial topics through comedy. While this was groundbreaking in the early 90s, some of the show’s sketches and characters have not aged well by today’s standards. Examples like the “Men on Film” sketches with Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier playing flamboyantly gay film critics rely on gay stereotypes that come across as offensive today.

Streaming services may be concerned that this type of dated, controversial material in In Living Color could draw backlash in the current cultural climate. Lightly editing or removing problematic sketches could anger fans who want to see the original episodes. But leaving the content untouched risks criticism and charges of insensitivity. This is a tricky line for any streaming service to walk, which may be factoring into the delay of the show hitting streaming.

Lack of Mainstream Demand

While In Living Color has a dedicated fanbase who fondly remember the series, it may not have mass mainstream appeal today like other hit 90s sitcoms. Services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon use detailed analytics to determine what older content to license based on projected viewer interest. Compared to widely beloved shows like Friends, The Office or Seinfeld, an edgy sketch comedy series like In Living Color may not move the needle enough for streamers.

The show’s cast was mostly minority performers, which was groundbreaking in 1990 but unfortunately could still limit the mainstream appeal for certain viewers. Without data showing a huge audience demand for the show, streaming services may have prioritized licensing other 90s hits perceived to have broader appeal first. But with the comedy landscape expanding and diversifying, perhaps streamers may take another look and see value in this influential series.


In Living Color offered bold, provocative comedy that influenced generations of sketch performers and writers. But a mix of expensive music rights, controversial material, lack of streaming deals, and questions about mainstream demand have conspired to keep the show unavailable on streaming platforms. Yet with fan interest still strong and a wider appreciation for the show’s cultural impact growing, there is still hope that we may get to re-visit this classic series online soon. Keenen Ivory Wayans created something special that deserves to be passed on to new audiences. Until music rights, licensing deals, and cultural concerns can be addressed, devoted fans will just have to rely on their dusty DVD sets to get their In Living Color fix.