Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like These “In Living Color” Sketches Parodying Muhammad Ali

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like These “In Living Color” Sketches Parodying Muhammad Ali

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I’m forever feeling inappropriate for not turning in a nice, moving tribute, and instead running right for parody.

But when you think about it, sometimes we need a good laugh to lift our spirits in times like this.

Back in April, after Prince died, I recalled a sketch from the variety show In Living Color that featured Prince and a pair of butt-less jeans, complete with a fake butt and not Jamie Foxx’s actual posterior. Though that would have been lovely!

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In 1990, during In Living Color’s earliest years, those “Not Saturday Night Live” rebels did a sketch parodying the Three Men And…movies, A Baby and A Little Lady. The latter actually was released in 1990. In Living Color took this a step further with the idea of “Hey, if Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg can raise a child as a trio, then why can’t Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, and Muhammad Ali do the same?”

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I know there’s quite a few reasons why this show was edgy and tipped the scales of good taste (I’ve written about various aspects of this show in the past, including two articles for Retroist), but this was likely on the opposite end of offensive. It’s actually quite funny.

What they came up with was Three Champs and a Baby, and Three Champs and a Little Lady. Because sequels are necessary.

The sketches are about Mike Tyson (Keenan Ivory Wayans), Sugar Ray Leonard (Tommy Davidson), and Muhammad Ali (David Alan Grier) all living in the same house, presumably as bachelors.

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In Three Champs And a Baby, the champs’are given the responsibility of raising a baby doll up right…as only three champs could.

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And not content to leave this one alone…it got a sequel in Three Champs and a Little Lady.

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In the sequel, the three champs are now raising a teenager (played by T’Keyah Crystal Kemah) going on her first date…

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…with the only white guy on the show.

Jim Carrey playing “Gerry Cooney Jr.”

Shocked? Well, yeah…she grew up quickly!


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The sketch depicts Ali as dunder-headed and slow-witted (and apparently thinking the doorbell means “Round 8,” therefore giving him a reason to punch Tyson. Considering that he was living with Parkinson’s by this time, I’m not sure how his family would have felt about this sketch. But I know how I feel about it – I almost spit water all over my laptop watching this at lunch time.

And those Bill Cosby-esque sweaters “Mike Tyson” wears? Yep, definitely a relic of the times. I also love his excitement over the words “ecstatic” and “ludicrous,” which apparently is a “very big woid.” Yes, woid.

The unanimous decision is comedy? Most definitely!

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You don’t need a unanimous decision to decide to read Allison’s work. She would be ecstatic if you came on over to her blog, Allison’s Written Words, or followed her blog on Facebook. Of course, it would be ludicrous not to! You can also find her randomness floating around Twitter, where she is known as @AllisonGeeksOut.

For the record, “ludicrous” is not a pretty big word.

Allison Venezio-Preston

Allison is a Secretary by day, a writer/blogger by night (and during lunch breaks and in the mornings before work), a nostalgia geek (and a geek in general), worshipper of Thor (and Chris Hemsworth), and honorary Avenger (she has a pin, so it is official). She collects Funko Pops, loves anything that takes her back to childhood, and has confessed her love for Kenny Loggins. Oh, and she listens to Chicago...alot. If any of this piques your interest, she'd love for you to visit her personal blog, Allison's Written Words, where she talks about alot of the same stuff she talks about here, and more! She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com. You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords), Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. (Her husband is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)
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