…and it was the moment we knew Jamie Foxx was super talented.
You know, beyond his comedic talents.
1991-1992 And The Arrival of Jamie Foxx
At the beginning of season three, a young comedian named Jamie Foxx became a cast member, bringing with him an amazing talent, a memorable set of characters, and a beautiful singing voice. All of this was on his side, and it is hard to believe these days that this guy got his start playing an ugly chick named Wanda.
Christmas 1992 was the time we really got to see his talent as a singer.
“This Christmas” is a 1970 song originally recorded by Donny Hathaway, and released by Atco Records. It has been covered several times, but takes a certain (read: smooth R&B) voice to pull it off.
And yet, Chicago managed that when they covered it in 2003 with – of all people – Jason Scheff providing the vocals. And…it works. I wonder why Bill Champlain or Lee Loughnane didn’t sing it (their voices are a tad blue-eyed soul), but I’m still impressed. It is my go-to version of this theme, other than the All-4-One version.
As I said, the song takes a certain voice to pull it off, and Jamie Foxx was the right person to do so.
Jamie Foxx Sings “This Christmas”
I was ten years old the first time I saw the Christmas episode of that season’s In Living Color episode. I had seen Foxx play Ray Charles in a sketch the previous season, but being ten years old, I wasn’t paying attention to singing or the fact that Jamie Foxx would get to depict Charles for a biopic so many years later. All I knew when I watched this particular episode was that this guy had talent, and wow, if he needed a second career after this show, he’d make it as a singer!
The episode originally aired on December 20, 1992, and featured a closing/good nights segment (as every episode did) that went like this:
The Fly Girls and (most) of the cast giving Christmas greetings to their loved ones.
Well, Jim Carrey thanked everyone he stepped on to get there.
Thanks, stepped on people!
He then introduced the special Christmas treat…
…and we all noticed two things.
How amazing Jamie Foxx’s voice was, and the way T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh was clearly undressing Jamie with her eyes.
Oh, and we noticed the Wayans family (and a few others) standing in the back with hats and sunglasses. No Christmas greetings from them, just silent protest.
So…what was that all about?
Turns out, this episode was the last for Keenen Ivory Wayans, who departed the show after the taping of this episode. His family members still on the show (brothers Shawn, Marlon, and sister Kim), and several other cast members, showed protest of this by donning black shades, hats, and stoic expressions. It makes for a seemingly tense time for everyone else, but even if they objected to his departure, they still had a show to do.
Marlon Wayans was able to leave whenever he wanted (he left after the following episode), but Kim and Shawn Wayans were still under contract and could not leave, so they remained until the end of the season.
Unfortunately, by the time this episode aired, the quality of the show had gone downhill, the result of the controversial Super Bowl halftime counterprogram that aired in January 1992. By the beginning of the fifth season, the show was a shell of what it once was.
All protests aside, and all controversies to come aside, Foxx’s performance was a bittersweet moment – a look back at what made this show so great, while looking forward to what it would become as the creativeness began to run out.
Watch with me, won’t you?
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Just a glimmer of things to come from such a gifted actor. This show really did make some stars!
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords), Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
(Her fiancee is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)