David Alan Grier Defends Controversial 'In Living Color' Character: 'There Was No Hate'

David Alan Grier stopped by the Yes, Girl! Podcast and discussed one of his most iconic roles on the groundbreaking sketch comedy show.
Keyaira Boone Dec, 14, 2018

David Alan Grier isn’t afraid to go down memory lane. The Tony Award-winning actor stopped by the Yes, Girl! Podcast and discussed one of his most iconic roles on the groundbreaking sketch comedy show, In Living Color

The actor clarified that at the time of the series, which ran for five seasons from 1990 to 1994, he meant no disrespect to the LGBTQ community when portraying Antoine Merriweather, in the “Men On…” series. Merriweather and Damon Wayans’ Blaine Edwards were cultural critics, often giving “two snaps” to films they loved.

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“There was no hate,” he began. “Yeah they were stereotypical and over the top because that’s the nature of comedy, but there was nothing at least for me and Damon that was designed to put down or be derogatory,” he said about his role along with Wayans’ Blaine Edwards.

“It feels like that was a million years ago politically; it was. There’s so many things that we did that we probably couldn’t do now or it would have to be attacked with a different point of view,” Grier continued.

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Grier said he suspects the space he and Wayans were given to develop the characters was related to how hard it was for any upset audience member to voice their opinions to executives.

He recalled one viewer who was so upset by his performance that he submitted the 90s version of a tweet in protest.

“This one guy he hand wrote a letter and faxed it in,” he recalled. “That was the quickest you could come in then.”  

Grier noted that today, “They hit you up immediately. They go this is an abomination — ‘click’ — and you in the middle of your soliloquy, you’re like ‘Hey man!’”

The Carmichael Show actor said on Yes, Girl! that what drives him to keep acting is a desire to portray full people on screen. The Yale-trained actor said he approaches every character with thoughtfulness.

“Even in The Wiz I’m trying to show all facets of this lion, which sounds absurd, but I’m trying to show all facets of humanity so that was my goal,” the noted.

Hear more from David Alan Grier on this week’s episode of Yes, Girl!