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‘I Didn’t Realize I Stole It’: Comedian Michael Colyar Says He Once Stole a Joke from Keenan Ivory Wayans That Cost Him a Spot on ‘In Living Color’

Michael Colyar was on an episode of “Pierre’s Panic Room Podcast” with fellow stand-up comedian Pierre Edwards, where the two talked about Colyar’s “life of poverty, drugs, comedy, and Hollywood.”

On the topics of comedy and Hollywood, the former “Def Comedy Jam” host talked about how he feels he might have been blackballed due to an incident he had with Black comedy royalty, Keenan Ivory Wayans. 

Comedian Michael Coylar says he missed out on a chance to star in Keenan Ivory Wayans' "In Living Color," after he stole one of his jokes
Comedian Michael Coylar says he missed out on a chance to star in Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “In Living Color,” after he stole one of his jokes. (Photos: @michaelcoylar/Instagram; @marlonwayans/Instagram)

“I lost the opportunity to be on Living Color ’cause I stole a piece of material that belonged to Keenan,” Coylar told Pierre. “And I didn’t realize I stole it.” 

The 66-year-old explained that he used to do his “Basic colored people’s routine,” where he makes fun of all races and suggests that racism is a joke.

“Back then, he [Keenan] had a joke about arabians how they would grab your head and run into traffic. I saw him do that two, three years before I did it,” Coylar said. “You know the danger in watching other comics is you can watch another comic’s performance and later say it yourself, thinking you created it. You know that’s a very real thing.”

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The “Poetic Justice” actor said he never thought about it in the moment since “Keenan had stopped really doing stand-up.”

“Keenan was now putting together the shows, he was putting together the movies right, so I forgot it was even his. I didn’t think about it I did not consciously take his sh-t,” he continued.

The comedian then recalled performing at a show when he had a run-in with Keenan, who was shopping around his comedic sketch series, “In Living Color,” and more from the Wayans family.

Colyar said that after he finished his routine, the second-oldest Wayans brother walked up to him and said, “N—a, if you ever say my s—t again, I’ll f—k you up.” 


He claims he called and apologized to Keenan and his brothers “a dozen times,” noting that he and the Wayans family were cool after the incident, but that was short-lived.

“Til this day, they have never worked with me on anything. I’ve never been allowed to come to any auditions of theirs, of anybody connected to the family,” said Colyar.

The “Norbit” star said in a place like Hollywood, some people have a “perceived slight” against you and will screw you over for decades because of a “clicky clicky society.”

Despite not landing a role on “In Living Color,” Colyar has kept busy appearing in small television roles since the late 1980s on shows like “227,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “The Hughleys,” “In the House,” “The Parkers,” “black-ish” and others.

He’s also starred in movies like “Who Made the Potatoe Salad?” and “The Princess and The Frog.” He had a recurring role on “The Rich & the Ruthless” as Willie Turner between 2017-2021.

Even though Colyar has had constant work since his confrontation with Keenan, he has still not appeared in a single Wayans-led production. 

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