I dare you to try and think of one, just one, episode of “Martin” that you could classify as your favorite. It’s hard, right? The Fox show was probably what brought folks home on Thursday nights, and is also one of the few TV sitcoms that many people actually own on DVD, even though it often appears on TV through syndication. It was just THAT funny. Maybe it was crazy Martin Lawrence and his many characters, the silly stories, or just how well the cast meshed together, but this show was THE bomb. Time to take a walk down memory lane, and also look to the present to see what our favorite cast members and characters from the iconic black comedy are up to now. And as always, be prepared to click (so don’t complain).
Martin Lawrence did a lot of film and TV work before he landed his own show. He was on “What’s Happening Now,” in Do The Right Thing, and of course, House Party. But it wasn’t until he played insane Martin Payne that he blew up. We loved his penchant for throwing people out when they tried to play him, his hilarious dancing skills, and his back and forth banter with Pam. He was everyone from Sheneneh Jenkins and old Otis, to Jerome and King Beef (“But first, I must dance!”). Of course, Martin had success during and after the show, appearing in the film, Bad Boys and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, and then doing a lot of family friendly and crazy movies: Big Momma’s House, Rebound, and Death at a Funeral. It was recently announced that a possible Bad Boys 3 will be brought to theaters in the future. *Excited face*
As Gina Waters-Payne, Tisha Campbell-Martin was both a successful businesswoman and the owner of a humongous head (remember when it got stuck in the new bed?). While Martin brought huge laughs on the show, Tisha and Martin had pretty amazing chemistry, which made the show all the more entertaining. However, a lot of rumors flew near the end of the show of sexual harassment and even stalking, and before you know it, around the fifth and final season, the character of Gina was rarely seen. She showed up for the series finale (in no scenes with her on-screen husband), but honestly, that last season was pretty random without all the characters getting along all friendly and what not. Afterwards, she was able to find pretty good work, doing the film Sprung, playing Jay on one of my other favorite shows, “My Wife and Kids,” and making guest appearances on “All of Us,” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” Her latest work was on the TV show, “The Protector,” which was canceled, and in a Mindless Behavior music video–“Hello.”
Carl Anthony Payne II
Cockroach! Well, he was Cockroach in his “Cosby Show” days, but on “Martin,” he was the uber-stupid but lovable Cole Brown. You know, the guy who loved all the hats, cleaned planes, loved him some Big Shirley and lived with his mother? That hilarious guy. When the show ended, Payne stuck to a lot of TV work, including a few episodes of “The George Lopez Show,” a guest appearance on “Girlfriends,” and most recently, appearing on a few episodes of BET’s “The Game.”
Thomas Mikal Ford
Bald head Tommy Strawn. He was Martin’s loyal friend with a lot more sense, but a lot less employment (I don’t think anyone ever figured out what he really did for a living). And on the show, he did everything from dating Pam and moving in with her, to getting jumped by Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boys over a girl. Loved him! Since then, he’s also done a wealth of TV work. Right after the show, he had a regular role as Lt. Malcolm Barker on New York Undercover, and appeared in a recurring role as Kim Parker’s father on “The Parkers.” He also worked on a show called “Who’s Got Jokes” from 2006-08 and just finished working on two films this year: The Ivy League and Unspoken Words.
Loud mouth but loyal Pamela James. This character was best known for her man troubles, her comical “relationship” with Martin, her bad breath, and her big butt (What? They were always showing that thing off…). Since the show ended, Arnold stayed almost as busy as Martin Lawrence. She had a guest role on “The Jamie Foxx Show,” and was Breanna’s mother on the UPN hit show, “One on One.” After that, she coincidentally played Martin Lawrence’s wife in the film, Wild Hogs, starred as the hilarious Rochelle on “Everybody Hates Chris,” and just finished the first season of the TV series “Happily Divorced,” with Fran Drescher. Make that money, boo!
He was only on the show as Stan from ’92-’95, but the polyester wearing cheap and philandering boss was a memorable character. Of course, Garrett Morris had been on television for many years before “Martin,” including being an original cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” After he exited the show at its height, he went on to be a regular on a show called “Cleghorne!” from ’95-’96, and played another cheap boss on television: Junior King on “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Most recently though, he’s had a regular role on the CBS show, “2 Broke Girls.”
Another temporary cast member, Gries was only on the show from ’92-’94 as bumbling WZUP worker Shawn McDermott (you know, the lone white character on the show). They always had him talking about moving his trailer over the weekend and doing some of the most random of things. When he bounced from the show, Gries did a lot of guest roles on shows like “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Lost,” as well as a regular role on “The Pretender” and currently as Uncle Rico on the animated comedy, “Napoleon Dynamite.” And if you saw the movie, Napoleon Dynamite, then you know he also played the creepy has-been football star Uncle Rico in the feature film.
I first was exposed to the very crazy Tracy Morgan when he played the hilarious Hustle Man on “Martin.” He was always trying to sell somebody something, conning folks, and was even seen playing a kazoo attached to a saxophone, talking about “Pick up the pieces!” His short appearances on the show always brought a great amount of laughs. Afterwards, we all know that he pretty much blew up. He acted in the film, Half Baked, appeared on “Saturday Night Live” for 10 years as a wealth of famous folks, and even had his own show, “The Tracy Morgan Show” for a short time. He also did films like the hilarious, First Sunday, and Death at a Funeral. Currently, he’s still doing it big as Tracy Jordan on the very funny NBC comedy, “30 Rock.”
I had to do it. Miss Geri showed up and threw down with Martin so many times for so many random reasons, when you saw her you knew some drama was going to unfold–in a funny way of course. Whether Martin was trying to cut her at the DMV or trying to take some change from her at the bus station, she was ready, purse in hand, to bust him upside his head. The actress only did the film Sprung after “Martin” ended, but before then and during her time on the show, she popped up on “Sister, Sister” and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Jeri Gray passed away in 1997 at the age of 72.
Brother Man, or Bruh Man was a notorious character for popping up in Martin’s apartment, wearing his clothes, watching his TV, eating his food, and of course, “borrowing” his CD player. If Bruh Man from the fifth floor (*holds up four fingers*) had his own show, I’m sure that would have made everyone pretty happy, because he was a damn fool. Bruh Man never realized when he was crossing the line, and that’s probably what made his character so hilarious. After “Martin” was over, he had some guest TV roles on shows like “Caroline in the City,” “The Show,” and a regular role on “The Bernie Mac Show.” Recently, he showed up in the film, Horrible Bosses.
Bentley Kyle Evans
Even if you don’t remember the face, I’m sure you remember Bentley Kyle Evans’s big crazy self as the see-through raincoat wearing man in the DMV trying to flirt with “Martin.” “Look at you, you so almond-y!” That scene was probably one of the funniest scenes on that show hands down, especially when Martin told him off: “First of all, my name ain’t no damn almond!” But don’t get it twisted, that fella was actually the co-executive producer of “Martin.” After the show ended, he became an executive producer for “The Jamie Foxx Show,” a consulting producer for the short-lived “Orlando Jones Show,” and was an executive producer for Tatyana Ali’s web series, “Love That Girl” in 2010.
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