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Martin aired from August 1992 until August 1997 on Fox.

Standup comic Martin Lawrence starred in this comedy that was adapted from a character he did in his act. Martin Payne ( Lawrence) was a sexist, wisecracking talk show host on Detroit radio station WZUP. Gina ( Tisha Campbell), his girlfriend was a markening executive who put up with his attitude because she loved him, although at times, he could be pretty hard to take. Other series regulars were Pam ( Tichina Arnold), Gina's sarcastic secretary, who despised Martin ( the feeling was mutual); Cole and Tommy ( Carl Anthony Payne II, Thomas Mikal Ford) , Martin's buddies , who always seemed to be hanging out at his apartment; Stan ( Garrett Morris), the stylish but arrogant owner of WZUP; Shawn ( Jonathan Gries), the station's handyman ( and only white character on the show); and Shenenah ( Martin Lawrence), the flashy loudmouthed bimbo who had the apartment across the hall from Martin's.

In the fall of 1993 Gina moved in with Martin, and in early 1994, despite some problems they were having with each other, they got engaged. At the end of the season the station was sold to a group that changed the format to country music and Martin was fired by the new owner. Despondent, he left Detroit to find himself but returned in the fall and, with Gina's help, got a job as associate producer of " Speak Out," a TV talk show on Channel 51. His new boss was program director Gloria Rodriguez ( Angelina Estrada), and Bernice ( Kymberly S. Newberry), who found Martin pretty obnoxious , was one of the other producers. Gina had temporarily moved in with Pam, who was getting some romantic attention from Tommy, so Martin could have the apartment to himself until he got back on his financial feet. When he took over as host of the show ( retitled: " Word on the Street"), she moved back in with him. Early in 1995 both Martin and Tommy got engaged to their girlfriends and in the season finale Martin and Gina were married.

During the 1995-1996 season Pam and Tommy eased back on their involvement and started dating other people, while Martin and Gina adjusted to married life. Tisha Campbell bolted the show late in 1996, claiming sexual harrasment by star Martin Lawrence-in the storyline, she was out of town visiting her parents and setting up the West Coast office of her company. Campbell settled her case out of court and appeared in the series final original episode -although never in the same scene with Lawrence. In the finale Gina was made executive vice president of the L.A. office , Martin got an offer to host a talk show in L.A. , and Cole proposed to his ditzy girlfriend Shanise ( Maura McDade)

In April 1997 an episode aired that was actually the pilot for a proposed spin-off series, Pam, out of work after she was downsized out of her job at Gina's advertising agency, got an A&R job with Keep It Real Records even though she had no experience in the music business. The spin-off series never went into production.

In addition to Martin and Sheneneh , Lawrence also played, among other characters, his mother, Emma; Otis, the security guard; and Jerome, a hippie neighborhood friend.

An Article from The New York Times

Review/Television; A Macho Image for a Sensitive Soul

Published: November 3, 1992

In a new season distinguished by its mediocrity, breakout shows and stars are at a premium. Bursting out of the gate, the new shows strain mightily but, so far, nothing looks like a sure winner. Still, the spectacle of so much demonstrable talent being stuffed into so many dumb concepts can be perversely fascinating. Will the producers wake up before the cancellation notices arrive? There are, as it happens, a few things worth saving.

Case in point: Martin Lawrence, star of "Martin," at 8:30 P.M. on Thursdays on Fox. Mr. Lawrence is a stand-up comic whose widest exposure to date had been as the host of HBO's "Def Comedy Jam," an uninhibited monthly showcase for black comedians. In terms of subject matter and language, the material is definitely not network sitcom. On one show, Mr. Lawrence came bouncing out in briefs, doing a mean takeoff on the white rapper Marky Mark and his co-opting of black street and performance styles. If white men can't jump, Mr. Lawrence implied, they sure know how to grab high-paying underwear ads.

Mr. Lawrence makes no secret of the fact that he will do anything for a laugh. He has the disarming confrontational bravado of a young Eddie Murphy, the one who had not yet aspired to being a romantic leading man in misguided movies like "Boomerang." He is also not bashful about tapping into other comics for a passing routine or two, and that can include everybody from Flip Wilson and his drag routines to Abbott and Costello and their sustained silliness.

In Fox's "Martin," Mr. Lawrence is strapped into the character of a radio talk-show host -- of station WZUP, as in what's up -- whose on-air macho cool doesn't quite jibe with his private sensitivity and eagerness to please his girlfriend, Gina (Tisha Campbell). In one episode, after boasting on the radio that his woman worships the ground he walks on, Martin had to confront Gina's wrath and the threat of public exposure. "Never cry?" said the nonplussed Gina. "I saw you cry three nights ago at 'Beauty and the Beast.' "

Beneath the sitcom jokes there lurks an element of seriousness. Martin is a black man trying to maintain an identity in a world in which the rules are obviously changing. A frequent refrain in the show, the linchpin of Martin's plea for cooperation, is, "It's a man thing." Sure, times are changing and, sure, Martin is willing to go along with many of those changes, but he still has to keep up traditional appearances among his buddies. Homing in on the inevitable tensions, "Martin" and Mr. Lawrence are at their best.

But then the show can seem bent on sticking with the kind of sitcom shenanigans that going back to safer and more innocent times did wonders for series like "Sanford and Son." So one episode, being repeated this evening at 8:30 as part of some special Fox counterprogramming for Election Day, revolves around the old ploy of a suddenly dead body and the problem of how to get rid of it. In this instance, the victim is an overweight plumber itching to bill customers ("May cost you a little, may cost you a lot, but it'll cost you").

Even here, Mr. Lawrence and this episode's writer, David Wyatt, manage to slip in some social zingers. Contemplating a white man being found dead in a black man's apartment, one character moans, "Next thing you know, I'm on trial in Simi Valley, Calif." Unable to get the police to respond to a 911 call, Martin and friends tell the operator that they are white, a ruse that fails when, given a qualifying quiz, they are unable to name two Barry Manilow songs.

Not bad, but strained. Mr. Lawrence deserves something far more imaginative and less constricting. Room for improvisation is in order, just as it was for Robin Williams in "Mork and Mindy." "Martin" could still blossom into something considerably more than a conventional sitcom. Whatever happens, Martin Lawrence is obviously going places. Martin Fox, tonight at 8:30 (Channel 5 in New York) Produced by HBO Independent Productions; Bennie Richburg, executive story consultant; Alan Walker, director of photography; Bill Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, co-executive producers; John Bowman, Topper Carew, executive producers. Martin . . . Martin Lawrence Gina . . . Tisha Campbell Pam . . . Tichina Arnold Tommy . . . Tommy Ford Cole . . . Carl Payne

A Review from Enterrtainment Weekly
Published on March 26, 1993

TV Review
By Ken Tucker

No one on television has a better smile than Martin Lawrence, whether he's mugging gleefully or grinning mischie-vously on the situation comedy martin (Fox, Thursdays, 8:30-9 p.m.). Law-rence's smile conveys both pleasure and confidence, suggesting a man in such cool control that he can make simple silliness seem like a sign of strength. Since its debut last August, Martin has evolved into one of the most consistently amusing sitcoms in prime time, but not because the show itself is particularly original or well written. Martin showcases Lawrence as a Detroit radio talk-show host whose geni-al greeting to callers is a screeched, ''Wasss- up?!'' Like a lot of sitcom bachelors, Martin has a posse of goofy pals (played by Carl Payne and Thomas Mikal Ford), a cranky boss (Garrett Morris, formerly of Saturday Night Live), and a steady girlfriend, Gina (Boomerang's Tisha Campbell). Any given week's plot is nothing special; Lawrence, however, is. He doesn't just give trite jokes a spin, he turns ordinary words into laugh getters-the way, for example, he wishes his friends ''peace'' with such aggressive vehemence (''payce!''), or calls Gina his baby (''muh bay-bay''), or begs for a kiss with frowning mock severity (''You give me my sugar, girl!''). The best humor on Martin seems, whether it's true or not, to have been improvised by Lawrence and his costars, a quality which gives the show an enjoyably loose, anything- can-happen feel. In fact, with its studied spontaneity, love of inventive street slang, and the jittery rhythm of its scenes, Martin is the closest a sitcom has come to being the TV version of hip-hop music, the comic equivalent to the artful raunch of Bobby Brown or Wreckx-N-Effect. Yet, distinctive as it is, Martin has frequently been lumped in with the other sitcoms featuring predominantly black casts that premiered last fall, like NBC's quick-to-flop Rhythm & Blues and Out All Night. They've all been derided as shows that reduce African-Americans to dumb cartoon characters. An October Newsweek story was headlined ''Must Blacks Be Buffoons?''; in it, Bill Cosby took a broad swipe at Martin and other shows for their vulgarity (''How many times has the punch line been about genitalia or big breasts?''). The thing is, some vulgarity is really funny; witness Richard Pryor, who in his best stand-up routines worked out roiling, complicated ideas and emotions about sexual explicitness. (When Pryor made a cameo appearance on Martin last month, Lawrence-who also gets mighty racy as the regular host of HBO's Def Comedy Jam-acknowledged the older comedian's influence by saying, ''There's no me without you.'') But disapproving souls like Cosby refuse to make such distinctions. Where they continue to believe that African-Americans must act with a deliberate show of dignity to command respect, Lawrence insists that blacks don't have to put on any sort of act anymore, even an act of dignity. He feels free to giggle, to speak any way he likes, to be as wacky as he wants. Certainly, leering stupidity was standard for Out All Night, which featured a character whose trademark joke was to go bug-eyed and yell, ''Pow!'' whenever an attractive woman walked by. When vulgarity surfaces in Martin, however, it arises from a human context, from characters talking to one another as adults- as friends or as lovers. And because it's freely acknowledged that Martin and Gina are Doing It, the jokes about sex have none of the rib-poking coyness that makes other less straightforward sitcoms so annoying. The strengths of this approach were made clear during a three-episode Martin story line in February. The trio of shows-over the course of which Martin and Gina fought, broke up, and got back together-was designed as a ratings-boosting stunt: Viewers were encouraged to call a 900 number (profits were donated to charity) and vote on who should apologize first, Martin or Gina. The gimmick was a success-more than 250,000 Martin watchers phoned in, and the three episodes' ratings beat those of the other major networks' shows in that time slot. But beyond that, these episodes showed how solid Martin's characters have become and provided Lawrence with one great scene: Anguished over the breakup but too proud to beg, Martin sat in the dark, singing along to the Chi-Lites' great, heartbreaking oldie ''Have You Seen Her.'' With Lawrence's voice quavering wildly away from the melody, the moment was at once hilarious and genuinely touching-here was emotionalism and romance from an African-American man, qualities that television almost never depicts. How could Bill Cosby possibly disapprove? As a vital pop-culture figure, Martin Lawrence rates an A, and his television vehicle is getting there. B+

An Article from Time Magazine

Black and Blue
Monday, Nov. 22, 1993

Martin Lawrence says out loud the things most people are too shy to write even on bathroom walls, and young America loves him for it. The 28-year-old comic has a naughty new comedy album titled Talkin' Shthat's on Billboard magazine's best-seller chart. He's the host of HBO's stand-up-comic showcase Def Comedy Jam, a program that has become the proving ground for a new generation of Richard Pryor wannabes. He is also the star of Fox-TV's Martin, a black-themed slapstick sitcom that is one of the top-rated shows among teenagers, and, as Lawrence points out, his voice rising with excitement, "If Fox was broadcast everywhere, you never know, we might be Num-BER 1."

Martin, now in its second season, centers on a Detroit radio talk-show host (Lawrence) and his no-nonsense girlfriend (Tisha Campbell). Lawrence is such an animated performer, he is nearly a cartoon -- sunny, outgoing, impossible to dislike no matter how nasty he is being. During a typical show, he'll also play any number of wild supporting characters, as broadly drawn as a third-grader's art-class project. An auto mechanic who won't stop singing soul songs. A runny-nosed child with an MIA mother. An extension-wearing, finger-snapping round-the-way girl from across the hall. Martin is a post- Cosby Show farce, a show for the I-am-not-a-role-model Age of Charles Barkley, a comic romp that puts the "id" back in video. Says Lawrence: "If I can get away with it, and it's something that happens in life, I go with it."

In a speech last year, comedy great Bill Cosby was critical of the "vulgarity" of shows such as Martin. After all, the Cosby Show was able to be hugely funny with material that didn't make you squirm if your grandmother entered the room. "I don't think Martin is a show that's projecting us forward," says Dr. Alvin Poussaint, professor of psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School and a former consultant to the Cosby Show. "Cosby was concerned about the limited range of roles blacks were playing on TV. Most sitcoms show a street-smart buffoonish image, but there are so many other images in the black community. Shucking and jivving is not representative of black America."

Lawrence shrugs off criticism. "Cosby's gonna do his thing, and I'm gonna do mine," he says. "Whichever one makes you laugh, you take it and enjoy , it." Lawrence's just-say-ha attitude is the result of an upbringing that wasn't a lot of laughs. His father, a sergeant in the Air Force, divorced his mother when he was eight. The family moved around a lot, with stops in Brooklyn, New York, and Landover, Maryland. "Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying," says Lawrence's sister (and personal assistant) Rae Proctor. "We were poor. Mother raised us, six of us, when she was working as a cashier." Lawrence made his family laugh, then he made people on his street laugh. Then, realizing that he could earn a living at this, he headed off to the comedy-club circuit. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was impressed with Lawrence's "natural charm and presence" and hired him as host of Def Comedy Jam. Lawrence also landed scene-stealing minor roles in movies like Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. "To attain universal appeal, the conventional wisdom is that you should dilute, homogenize black comedy," says filmmaker Warrington Hudlin, who cast Lawrence in House Party and Boomerang. "His approach is just the opposite." In January Lawrence will release a comedy concert film.

Broad humor and racial issues are hard to balance -- just ask Ted Danson and his ex-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg. But Lawrence is a sort of Afrocentric clown, and he has an insightful edginess that, when he chooses to display it, can raise his sitcom work above the level of stereotype. In one Martin episode Lawrence is in a shoe store when a white customer mistakes him for a store employee. "I don't work here," he says, with the disgust that many professional blacks have felt when they are mistaken for the help. When Lawrence invites friends over to watch boxing, he sports a FREE MIKE TYSON T shirt. All this material is part of the reason Martin won an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award.

The show also features something that's not seen often enough on TV: a black man and a black woman in a long-term romance. Recently there's been talk that Lawrence is settling down. "There is someone special in my life," he confides, suddenly as gooey as a Gummi Bear. Then he recovers and in a flash works up the good-natured energy he displays on his sitcom. "But I still love the ladies. Martin loves the ladies!" He's too busy to be too serious. He's a comic on the laugh track to stardom.

An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on February 4, 1994

Cover Story

It's taping night on the set of the Fox sitcom Martin, and a rowdy audience of 200-mostly black, mostly under 30-is watching as star Martin Lawrence tries something new for take two of the scene. His character, Martin Payne, a Detroit deejay-cum-talk-radio host, is preparing his girlfriend, Gina (Tisha Campbell), and her best friend, Pam (Tichina Arnold), for an encounter with his thieving cousin and alcoholic uncle. ''I need you to do what you do,'' Martin tells Pam, drawing her near. ''What's that?'' she asks sweetly. Playing to the stands, Lawrence hesitates for a split second, flashes his signature lopsided grin, and delivers the kind of ad-lib the cast and crew have come to expect. ''Su -- a d -- -!'' he shouts. The crowd goes wild.

While making the two-season-old Martin a youth-market hit for the Fox network, Lawrence has managed to meet two contradictory needs-reaching for mainstream success while remaining true to his edgier comic soul. As the clean-cut, amiable star of a prime-time show that offers a slice of middle-class black life, Lawrence, 28, is in many ways the hip-hop Bill Cosby. At the same time, his raucous stand-up material makes him the Richard Pryor of his generation. From 1992 to '93, he hosted HBO's outrageous, sexually explicit Def Comedy Jam, which Cosby has decried as a ''minstrel show.'' Cosby's shuddering aside, Lawrence's raunchy act drove his first comedy album, Martin Lawrence Talkin' S -- -, released last fall, to No. 11 on the R&B charts. The Feb. 18 release of his first concert film, You So Crazy, will bring his bawdy side into even sharper focus. Martin fans expecting more of the sensitive guy comically caught up in the battle of the sexes should beware: Although laced with good-natured gender-bashing, Crazy also reveals Lawrence as an unblinking social satirist and a profane and manic physical comic. So far, Lawrence has managed to straddle the fence between the bland and the blue. But by trying to keep his feet planted in two different worlds, he may be making himself into the angriest TV star this side of Roseanne Arnold. Lawrence is already a case study in the dilemmas of network-sitcom success (Martin, which airs Sundays at 8 p.m., is beating time-slot competitors Murder, She Wrote, seaQuest DSV, and Lois and Clark among young viewers, if not in overall ratings, with an audience of 8.6 million people a week), and he is chafing under the inherent restraints. The day after his gleeful outburst on the set, sitting in his orderly Universal office-which is decorated with framed prints by black artists such as Leroy Campbell and a painting of Malcolm X-Lawrence is crooning on the phone to his crying 2-year-old niece, Ne Ne, comforting her with the warmth that makes Martin so appealing. But when he hangs up, keeping his tortoiseshell sunglasses on even though the blinds are drawn, he puts the world, and his network, on notice. ''I have to fight and fight to do the Martin show my way,'' Lawrence says. ''You can't say this, you can't say that. You're only allowed two asses a show, one damn.'' Lawrence breaks into a nasal whine, mocking the Fox standards department: '''This is at 8 o'clock-what about the kids?' I'm like, 'Hey, people know Martin. They ain't surprised by this s -- -.' ''This is television, and people can limit me,'' he continues, swiveling back and forth in a black leather armchair. ''But movies? I can't wait. I can't wait. When you saw me improvise at the taping last night, you said, 'They can't air that on TV.' But it was funny as hell, right? Imagine what they can't cut out of a movie. ''Where do I see myself going? I'll be the biggest comedian. That's all I know. People can call it what they want-my confidence, or my arrogance, or whatever. In America you can make as much money as you want as long as you work to get it. It's all on me.'' After his strong first year, Lawrence was rewarded with more control-he became an executive producer of the show this season-and the battle over content has eased a bit. Says co-executive producer John Bowman, ''I used to spend four hours a week on the phone with (Fox), and I don't anymore. Unless we say 14 asses in a row, we don't hear back from the network.'' This doesn't mean that Lawrence feels any more appreciated by Fox. ''I give 110 percent in every show, and I don't get that from the network,'' he charges. To wit, a December L.A. Times review accused the show of pandering to racist stereotypes in one episode by presenting Martin as sex-crazed; a Fox vice president, David Grant, appeared to side with the Times by admitting in the piece, ''In retrospect, it was over the top.'' Lawrence and his writers see Martin as culturally authentic and believe its realism is crucial to its success. ''You're not going to see us doing anything that's coonish,'' says writer Kenneth Bufford, 28, a former assistant to Spike Lee who met his current boss when Lawrence had a bit part in 1989's Do the Right Thing. ''We're more like George Jefferson, as opposed to someone who kowtows to white people. We're strong young black men.'' Lawrence's beef with Fox includes his perception that some of the network's other shows featuring black stars-and they include Living Single, Roc, and Sinbad, though he won't name which-have stolen several of Martin's distinctive catchphrases and story lines. Bowman has even warned cast and crew not to allow other Fox writers on the set. ''Something ain't right,'' Lawrence says, removing his sunglasses, as if he no longer needs to keep his distance. ''We started using the expressions 'You go, girl!' and 'Don't go there!' and no one in television was doing that. No one. Now a lot of Fox shows are using the same stuff and the same premises. Isn't that diluting the originality of Martin? I would think the network would say, 'Your show is your show and their show is their show. You guys need to stay away from the same references.' ''I'm at the point where I would consider another network,'' he says with a coy smile. ''Damn, I've never even met (Fox network chairman) Lucie Salhany. When you have someone who means to the network what I feel I do, I expect to be treated in a certain way.'' (Salhany and Fox Entertainment president Sandy Grushow have responded through a publicist that they ''love Martin and think he's an incredibly important and extraordinarily talented member of the Fox family.'') ''Please don't misconstrue this,'' Lawrence insists, easing up a bit. ''I'm not angry. I'm just aware.'' And well aware that the creative freedom he craves lies not in TV but in movies. While his Martin contract lasts till 1997, Lawrence has a two-year film deal with Fox parent Twentieth Century Fox as well (he also owns two production companies, You So Crazy-which coproduced You So Crazy with HBO-and You Go Boy). When he talks about movies, Lawrence repeatedly slaps his fist into his palm. ''Come movie time,'' he says, ''there ain't no stopping me.'' His most notable film role to date was as Eddie Murphy's tart-tongued buddy Tyler in 1992's Boomerang. Crazy will inevitably be judged against Murphy's Raw (1987), the most profitable concert film ever made. ''I can't just come out of the box and expect to do the numbers Eddie's done,'' says Lawrence, who, as a struggling performer, drew inspiration from Murphy's success. ''To do what Eddie's done is very hard. He's a rare brother that comes along now and then. But he ain't the only one. I know I can do it.'' Like the best comedians, Lawrence uses his material to reflect the struggles of his life. In Crazy, he riffs about the breakup of his parents when he was 7, his mother's strength, the complexities of dealing with the opposite sex, and racism. ''You (white) guys like me now,'' he tells the audience in Crazy. ''You didn't say s -- - to me before. 'Get out the way, nigger.' Now (you say), 'You go, Martin!'''

His routine is relatively free of the misogynistic bits favored by Def Comedy Jam comedians. Brought up in a female-headed household with three sisters and two brothers, Lawrence says, "I respect the female. To me, the female is your right hand." Growing up in Landover, Md., while his mother raised the family and worked as a cashier, Martin assumed the role of surrogate dad, even though he was the fifth child. "He always wanted something better," says his sister, Rae Proctor, 29. "When he was 11 or 12, I remember he was carrying people's bags to their cars at the Safeway parking lot. Then he'd take each one of us to the mall to buy us tennis shoes. That was a lot of bags to hustle." Lawrence's mother, Chlora, was-and still is-a supportive audience for his off-color stories and jokes. "She would just laugh and say, 'Boy, get out of my face.' Or, 'Boy, leave me alone,'" he recalls. "But she never said stop being funny or stop doing what you do." A teacher encouraged the wisecracking kid to perform at local comedy clubs. After graduating from high school, Lawrence scrubbed floors at Kmart while perfecting his act. His breakout came in 1987 when he landed an appearance on TV's Star Search and was noticed by Columbia Pictures execs, who cast him in a small but recurring role in the syndicated sitcom What's Happening Now! He went on to become part of the comedy scene in L.A., was given his own HBO special in 1990, and eventually was signed by Fox. Today, Lawrence surrounds himself with a tight group. Sister Rae is his personal assistant (he calls her "the head honcho"); baby sister Ursula, 27, runs his fan club. When Lawrence travels, his entourage includes another assistant; his personal trainer; childhood friend Kenneth Whack, 28, a middleweight boxer; and Bufford, whom Lawrence befriended early in his Hollywood career. Lawrence felt that Bufford and several other writers he met in those days shared his sensibility, and he promised them that when he made it big, he'd bring them along. Clearly, loyalty is paramount to Lawrence-and may be at the heart of his dissatisfaction with Fox. On the other hand, he's capable of severing old ties. He made a surprising break last year with manager and Martin cocreator Topper Carew, who had guided the comedian from his first days on the L.A. stand-up circuit. Neither man will reveal the reasons for the falling-out. "We had a personal disagreement," says Carew, although his name remains in the show's credits. "It was a tough impasse for me." Lawrence allows himself to hurl one dagger: "If you see that this year's shows are better-looking and better quality, then you see why (Carew's) not here." Lawrence has been making a few other breaks from the past lately, like anchoring himself with a stable home life. Last year he bought a house in North Hollywood-just minutes from the Martin set-where he works out every morning with his trainer and shoots hoops with friends. And while he has joked in stand-up about swarms of women flocking to his side, he quietly became engaged last fall to actress Lark Voorhies. A Saved by the Bell alumna who guest-starred on Martin last season, Voorhies, 20, now plays a homeless unwed mother on the NBC soap Days of Our Lives. When asked about her, Lawrence is momentarily taken aback and looks like he might put those sunglasses back on. "You're not leading me into talking about relationships," he says, suddenly shy and off balance, leaning way back in his chair. He tries to deflect the subject by discussing his sitcom character's relationship with girlfriend Gina (Martin will pop the question to her in a two-episode, sweeps-stunt story line in February). But soon he warms to discussing real-life intimacy and launches into a discourse on the beauty of monogamy; the hard-driving Lawrence, as it turns out, is a romantic. "I love the family life," he says. "There's nothing better. Lark is very spiritual, and when I saw how passionate she was about God and not wanting to party and be out at every club, something in me just said, 'If you can't see that love is in your face (a line the fictional Martin often uses), and you let it pass, you're not really looking for it.' "I'm trying to do the right thing," Lawrence continues, "and that's not being the ho I know I could be. If I wanted to run around right now, I could. But my passion is for the passion of love. That keeps you smiling when nothing else does. With love, you don't need money, you don't need lights, camera, action, you don't need none of that s---." You go, Martin. *

An Article from Jet Magazine

Martin Lawrence & Tisha Campbell head cast in third season of 'Martin.' - TV comedy - Cover Story
Jet, Dec 12, 1994

Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell along with a talented cast of comic actors are still battling and exploring relationships on the Fox TV sitcom `Martin,' now in its third season.

Lawrence, this season, has moved from being a Detroit radio talk show host to taking on the world of local television. Also, Martin, the ultimate macho man who barks a lot but has a super sensitive side, is now engaged to Gina (Tisha Campbell), a strong-willed but loving career woman.

Lawrence is a segment producer at a station in the Motor City and, as luck would have it, has to deal with another strong-willed woman, his boss Gloria Rodriguez (Angelina Estrada). Ms. Rodriguez also happens to be a friend of Gina's.

Another twist this season has been the incredible transformation in the relationship between Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford) and Pam (Tichina Arnold). Martin found himself playing matchmaker for his buddy Tommy when he sought advice about dealing with a special, anonymous woman. Imagine Martin's surprise when he found out the special woman was Pam. She was the subject and butt of many of Martin's jokes. And now he has to deal with her on a whole new level. Rounding out Martin's intimate circle of comrades is Cole (Carl Anthony Payne II).

Much of the energy still comes from the relationship between Martin and Gina. Lawrence recently told JET that it is still important for his character to show that sensitive side. "Sensitivity is what allows you to patch relationships up. It keeps a family together. People see me and see there's nothing wrong with being sensitive. We have to be sensitive to ladies to know what they want, how they think. In the 1990s women want to hear what their man has to say."

From the very beginning, Lawrence wanted his girlfriend to be an independent woman. And Ms. Campbell told JET she appreciated that. "I didn't want to be typecast as the perfect girlfriend, the perfect sitcom girlfriend. I wanted to make sure she had her flaws just like everybody else. Martin told me back in the first season he wanted her as a strong Black woman."

She is also pleased that `Martin' is a show that gives audiences something she feels is rarely seen on television - "Black people in love. You don't see a a lot of Black people in love whether monogamous or not. They don't show Black affection. It's especially important for young people to see the balance. It's refreshing. And then we have Tommy and Tichina's relationship. So, that's more new Black love. We now have a balance of two relationships. Martin and I have been together a while and the other one is a struggling relationship."

Beyond portraying strong relationships, Lawrence said what is always most important is to make audiences laugh. "Each week we set out to give you laughs. If in between there something falls that's very positive then that's good. The most important thing I try to do is entertain."

`Martin' has changed timeslots once again. Now, it airs Thursdays 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox. Last year it was part of Fox's hit Sunday night lineup.

Ms. Campbell said she hopes they don't keep moving. "You know, the first season we were on Thursdays. And then the second year, on Sunday. I hope we don't move again."

Her television boyfriend agreed. Lawrence said: "You want your audience to know where you are and what's going on with your show. I think it's hard for any show that gets bounced around. But, the cast and I work hard to give you a laugh every week. My thing is, if the audience is going to be there, I will be there."

Off-screen, Lawrence is just about ready to give up bis bachelorhood. Early next year, he is set to marry Pat Southall, who was first runner-up in last year's Miss USA pageant. She was Miss Virginia. Lawrence said he is not ready to talk much about his upcoming nuptials. "We'll talk about it at another time. Right now I'm very happy. I have a very beautiful woman, a positive woman."

An Article from the LA Times

'Martin's' Wife Leaves Fox Series
Television: Tisha Campbell sues producers, citing 'intolerable' conditions and claiming Lawrence sexually harassed her. Show execs decline comment.

Tisha Campbell, co-star of Fox's "Martin," has left the show, claiming that series star Martin Lawrence sexually harassed her and that conditions on the set were "intolerable." She has filed suit against Lawrence and the show's producers.

Campbell departed the show last November after a series of disagreements with Lawrence. Her last appearance on the air as Lawrence's wife was Dec. 19. Two episodes have been filmed without her; her absence is explained on a romantic voyage story line in which her character misses the boat.

The actress reported to associates that the atmosphere on the set was too tense, volatile and unpredictable for her to continue working there.

Representatives for Lawrence and Fox declined comment.

Campbell also declined comment, but her attorney, Kurt Peterson, said Monday that her departure has resulted in legal action.

Peterson said that HBO Independent Productions, the company that makes the series for Fox, filed a temporary restraining order against Campbell to try to force her to return to work pending arbitration on her claim of sexual harassment by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, a performers' union. He said U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins denied HBO's request last month.

Campbell has since countered with a lawsuit of her own, seeking damages against several parties, including HBO, Lawrence and his production company for numerous claims, including sexual harassment and sexual battery, Peterson said.

HBO Independent Productions declined comment.

"Martin," which is now in its fifth season, revolves around the characters of Martin (Lawrence) and Gina (Campbell), who have endured ups and downs during their relationship but clearly love each other. The couple married last season.

In addition to starring on the comedy, Lawrence is one of its two executive producers.

The controversy is the latest in a swirl of reports surrounding Lawrence, considered one of the country's top comics. He starred in 1995's hit film "Bad Boys," hosted HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" for several years and has appeared in several other films.

The actor was arrested last August when he carried a loaded gun in a suitcase at Burbank Airport. In May, he was detained by Los Angeles police after he had wandered screaming into a Sherman Oaks intersection. In the aftermath of that incident, Lawrence's physicians said the actor was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

Lawrence also filed for divorce from his wife last year, just a few months after she gave birth to their first child. In recent months, he failed to show up for several announced appearances at the Comedy Store.

An Article from The Virginian Pilot
Published on January 18, 1995


MARTIN LAWRENCE hobbled into his meeting with TV writers on a right knee that he had twisted playing backyard basketball. Lawrence and his bride, Chesapeake's very own Pat Southall, haven't found time to take a real, get-away-from-it-all honeymoon, what with Lawrence busy as the star and executive producer of his Fox sitcom.

Word that the Lawrence-Southall wedding in Norfolk earlier this month was a grand affair soon reached Southern California. So it was no surprise that the first question Martin heard from members of the Television Critics Association was about the cost of a wedding that had Hampton Roads spellbound for days.

``It cost a lot,'' said Lawrence. ``I enjoyed my time in Norfolk and I enjoyed meeting the people there. I had no idea that so many people would turn out to greet us.

``It was nice that so many came. And it was also nice to have such a large wedding and give back something to the people who have supported me in my career.''

Southall and Lawrence met in 1992 at one of his concerts, said a member of Lawrence's entourage, which is a nice-sized group by Hollywood standards. Lawrence was helped along, up and down stairs and into his limousine by his wide-shouldered bodyguard.

The no-shows at the Norfolk wedding included Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy, one guest Lawrence really wanted to attend, according to a Lawrence spokesman. ``They didn't make it,'' she said.

It upsets Lawrence a tad to suggest that he is mellowing in his late 20s, that he is no longer the brash, you-so-crazy comic he was when ``Martin'' signed on three seasons ago.

Mellowing? No. Maturing? Yes, said Martin as well as those who work with him, including co-star Tisha Campbell. ``We've both grown as individuals,'' Campbell said.

Campbell attended the Norfolk wedding but didn't have time to visit her relatives in Portsmouth.

She says Lawrence is a great boss.

``He fights many battles for the actors and the crew,'' she said. When ``Martin'' premiered, Lawrence was the star and creative consultant. Now he's calling the shots.

That will mature a person in a hurry, suggested Martin's co-executive producer, Samm-Art Williams.

``With the title of executive producer comes the responsibilities. You're responsible for the careers of cast and crew, the budgets and many other things I didn't hone in early on in the series,'' Williams said.

Lawrence admits that he's had skirmishes with Fox executives about what he wants his show to be - almost as edgy and as outrageous as his stand-up comedy. He isn't happy with Fox's decision to move the show from Sunday to Thursday night, before ``Living Single.''

But he didn't rant about it before the TV press the way he would have a few years back. Lawrence could not have been more cordial, ending his meeting with the writers on a philosophical note, saying that we'd all be better off if we listened to our mothers' advice.

Some of that advice from mom was not to try to do everything while filming ``Martin.''

``In the beginning, I was like Michael Jordan trying to carry the Chicago Bulls on his shoulders alone,'' Lawrence said. ``Because the show is named `Martin,' I felt I had to introduce you to Martin at first. But now it's time you got to know Martin's friends and family better.''

Lawrence has been controversial in the past, including the moment on ``Saturday Night Live'' when his language offended NBC brass. His concerts are raw, with four-letter words spilling out.

That's the real Martin Lawrence, not the one viewers see on Fox. ``My anger got me into some of these situations,'' he said. ``I've found out that being angry isn't always the best way to handle problems. When tempers flare, you say things that hurt people.''

Lawrence showed up before the TV press on a painful leg to present the new Martin Lawrence, an actor and producer who says he has learned what it takes to keep a TV show on the air for years - assemble a strong ensemble cast and provide great scripts.

``I think the best is yet to come,'' he said.

It would be nice, the comic said, if Fox gave him bigger budgets and promoted the show with more vigor. But that's not a complaint. New bridegroom Lawrence is happy to have a show on TV in prime time after three seasons.

That's a long time in TV terms, he said. It is indeed. MEMO: Television Columnist Larry Bonko is in Los Angeles for the twice-yearly

An Article from The Washington Post

The Tragedy of the Comic
Martin Lawrence Is Torn. Under the Easygoing Star a Troubled Actor Has Emerged.
By Sharon Waxman

Special to The Washington Post
June 24, 1997

Sometimes Petitioner is himself and sometimes he is not. I can never be sure. -- From a statement by his ex-wife requesting a restraining order against Martin Lawrence

LOS ANGELES -- There are two people at war inside comedian Martin Lawrence.

One is a wiry, raunch-minded, fast-talking, off-kilter smartass, a little guy with a big mouth and a keen eye for a weak spot. A guy who nonetheless wouldn't hurt a fly, say those who know him.

The other is a ranting, incoherent menace. A gun-wielding madman. A basket case.

The two are locked in battle inside a man who a few years ago was commonly referred to in the national press as "the next Eddie Murphy" or, alternately, "the next Richard Pryor."

It's still unclear which Martin Lawrence will prevail. One has a bright Hollywood career with a movie coming out next month. The other appears to need professional help, is unable to control his rage among friends or strangers. Which is the real one? Impossible to say. Only one thing seems clear: They cannot both survive.

Melodramatic, you say? Hollywoodian? Well, possibly. Certainly it wouldn't be the first time that overnight success, easy fame and untold riches destroyed a perfectly tolerable Hollywood talent. The Rise and Fall of -- take your pick: James Dean, Roman Polanski, Richard Pryor, River Phoenix -- is by now a well-worn morality tale whose lesson seems never to be learned by those who need it most. Money. Drugs. Women. Cars. Fans. Too much too soon.

Hollywood doesn't care: There'll always be another Martin Lawrence. Worse yet is that Lawrence may not even belong in this category. But it is hard not to wonder about him after the recent, much-publicized events that have plagued the actor, who rose to stardom from the comedy clubs of Washington.

In May 1996 Lawrence was detained by police after being found wandering in the middle of a busy L.A. intersection, mucus smeared across his face, raving, "Fight the power!" with a loaded handgun in his pocket. Three months later he was arrested at Burbank Airport for trying to board a plane to Phoenix while carrying a loaded 9mm Beretta. He told police he thought guns were allowed on interstate flights. No charges were filed in either case. Then last October, a month after he filed for divorce from Patricia Lawrence, his wife of 20 months, she won a restraining order against him after, among other things, she told a judge that he threatened to kill her and her family.

Matters have gone downhill from there. In January Lawrence's TV co-star, Tisha Campbell, filed a suit alleging a pattern of sexual harassment and battery, which he denied. In March Lawrence was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery for having allegedly punched a Los Angeles man in the face twice after they bumped each other at a dance club. A pretrial hearing is set for June 30; Lawrence's lawyers entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment. His divorce recently finalized, Lawrence still faces a battle with his ex over custody of their infant, Jasmin, child support, a prenuptial agreement that she now contests and her demand for living expenses.

But, in the meantime, there is this other life. The 32-year-old actor has made a movie, shot the final season of "Martin," his sitcom, and appeared in comedy clubs. True, colleagues and acquaintances say that he looks unwell -- painfully thin and sleep-deprived. But they also vouch for Lawrence as a kind, hard-working, sensitive soul who's going through something they don't really understand.

They say that the Martin Lawrence they know is nothing like the Martin Lawrence suggested by the headlines.

"He's one of the sweetest guys you ever want to meet," says Topper Carew, a former manager of Lawrence's. "I basically and fundamentally believe he's a good person."

"I know him as a person. I know the guy's heart is deep and genuine," says Scott Day, the talent coordinator at the Comedy Store, a stand-up venue where Lawrence occasionally performs. "When I heard these things, it was very out of character for me. To be quite honest, he's always been a true gentleman."

"He shows up to meetings on time. He seems fine. Normal. Professional," says Barry Josephson, a producer who signed Lawrence to a $20 million, three-movie development deal at Columbia Pictures. "We have a script that we'll be showing Martin soon."

No Comment
But then there are days like the one in May of last year, when Lawrence was busy shooting "Nothing to Lose," a Disney comedy co-starring Tim Robbins that -- studio officials report -- is "testing through the roof." Robbins plays an uptight advertising executive who cracks when he learns that his wife is sleeping with his boss; Lawrence plays a small-time crook who tries to carjack him. They befriend each other and take off for Arizona.

But that day on the set Lawrence was having trouble remembering his lines. An assistant called his then-wife to say the actor "was laughing hysterically over nothing and was unable to stop," according to a declaration she filed to the divorce court. Director Steve Oedekerk ("Ace Ventura, Pet Detective") says he sent Lawrence home, but the actor did not show up there until 5 a.m., according to the declaration. He was up again at 8 or 9 a.m., rambling on about wanting to wash the car. He went to the carwash, a gun in his pocket, and wandered out into a Sherman Oaks intersection, screaming and yelling at no one in particular.

A witness, Aaron Berg, told a local TV station that Lawrence was shouting, "Fight the power! Don't give up!" Said Berg, "He was like a madman . . . and I was like -- `That's Martin Lawrence!' "

Police subdued the comedian and sent him to Cedars-Sinai hospital, where a doctor announced that Lawrence was "suffering from exhaustion and dehydration."

A hospital spokesman later said, "Mr. Lawrence was suffering from a seizure as a result of his failure to take prescribed medication." The spokesman did not specify what medication.

The next day Lawrence's doctor, William Young, who did a toxicology report, said drugs were not the cause of the incident, the actor was not on prescribed medication and he had not had a seizure.

After two days of rest, Lawrence went back to the set as if nothing had happened. "The day he came back, he did a scene when he's out on a balcony -- it's his most brilliant work in the movie," says Oedekerk, who admits to being mystified.

"When I hear these things, it just jolts me," he says. " . . . It's like another person. You say `yikes.' It really doesn't mesh with what I know of Martin Lawrence. I've only seen the guy as polite, easy to communicate with. But I'm not dumb. I realize that other stuff is going on there, but I'm not privy to any of that."

Apparently few people are. And no one from Lawrence's entourage, including his sister, brother, several childhood friends who now work for him, lawyers, business manager, publicist and agent, wants to talk about it.

"We're not commenting right now. We're not doing any interviews," says Joe Sutton, Lawrence's publicist, clearly uncomfortable with this non-response. The comedian is scheduled to do interviews this month -- but not with print media -- at an event organized for the scheduled July 11 release of "Nothing to Lose." This means interviews will be no longer than five minutes each and are unlikely to touch on personal issues. Lawrence recently taped a segment for the show of old pal Rosie O'Donnell, but producers confirm she asked him no personal questions. Sutton promises that Lawrence will speak to print reporters after the movie opens.

(After weeks of canceling appointments, the actor finally met with a studio-hired writer in May for a promotional interview for the press kit, according to a non-studio publicist. His people crossed off three-quarters of the questions on the list; Lawrence said next to nothing and the frustrated interviewer left in tears.)

Oedekerk says he's not worried that Lawrence's escapades will hurt the film. "I toss that up to the luck of the draw," he says, "but I don't think it will matter. Whether it helps or hurts the movie -- I'm happy with either. I think a lot of comedians get a certain mystique by being the bad boy."

Back to Family Values?
"My mother . . . said, 'No matter what, try to find a way to respect the woman.' When you see the `Martin' show and . . . all the crazy things I do for her [Campbell], it's to show you can be cool and at the same time respect your woman, who will hopefully become your wife, who will hopefully become the mother of your kids. America needs to get back to family values." -- Martin Lawrence in Us magazine, April 1994

Sound and Fury
What is wrong with Martin Lawrence? Patricia Lawrence writes in court papers that her ex-husband smokes marijuana every day and that he occasionally drinks -- but these are not the sort of drugs that generally send people off into delusional rants. There are, she says, "bouts of irrational speech." There was the time in July 1995, according to her statement and news stories, when Lawrence went off incoherently on the set of his show, screaming and cursing and refusing to be restrained. He was admitted to Cedars-Sinai and was later found wandering the streets in his pajamas, muttering about going to a surprise party for himself at the Hard Rock Cafe. There was a night in July 1996 when he drove his Ferrari along Benedict Canyon, swerving off the edge of the road, terrifying his wife, who was in the car. In mid-September, she alleges, he woke her in the middle of the night, picked a fight and then shoved her, hard.

After things soured in the Lawrence household that fall, Patricia moved into the Universal City Hilton. In late November, she says in the divorce filings, Lawrence called and said, "You'll pay for what you've done to my family." The next day he allegedly called and said: "I'm going to have to kill you. . . . I'm going to have to kill your family." The following day he called to apologize. Three days after that she received an unsigned note, stating: "I will do anything to have you back. I miss my baby so much!!! Both of you please come home!" And then: "If I can't have you then I will make sure that no one has you. So come home now!! If you don't, then I will have to do what I have to do." It was signed, "I love you to the death."

In divorce court, Lawrence's lawyers did not file a response to her allegations.

Then there's Tisha Campbell's lawsuit, the substance of which Lawrence denied in a statement saying he was "being used as a pawn" in a contract dispute between the actress and HBO. In the complaint, the actress describes an escalating cycle of mistreatment and obsession, starting innocuously in the show's first season when Lawrence, then single, would ask her for dates, but turning unpleasant in the second season, when he became "increasingly manic and volatile," according to the suit, threatening to fire cast and crew members for no apparent reason.

The fits of fury increased in the third season, and in the fourth year, Campbell alleges, Lawrence groped her, forced his tongue into her mouth and simulated intercourse with her on the set in front of the cast and crew. By this past season, Campbell said, he was so out of control that in November she walked off the show, "terrified and concerned for her safety." She returned to complete the show's last two episodes after reaching a settlement, which was kept secret by both sides. She won the assurance that she would have no scenes with Lawrence, a tall order for the hour-long conclusion of a five-year run.

What does Lawrence's mercurial behavior indicate? This much we know, from his ex-wife's declaration: Since July 1995 Lawrence has undergone psychiatric treatment and taken "psychotropic medication," which may be anything from a tranquilizer to lithium. He has had a full-time, live-in nurse since May 1996, she said.

Psychiatric testing last September found "impairment in his thought processes," evidence of paranoia and lack of rational perspective, again according to Patricia Lawrence's statement filed with the court. "It was clear to both of us," she says of herself and her ex-husband's psychiatrist, John Altman, "that Petitioner [Lawrence] is suffering from mental conditions that interfere with his day to day functioning."

One leading psychiatric expert also says Lawrence's symptoms suggest illness rather than addiction, though she noted that she has not examined him. "It's highly unlikely that drugs alone would account for such severe behavior. It sounds like mental illness," says Lori Altshuler, director of the mood disorders research division at UCLA Medical Center. "Marijuana smoking is not usually associated with psychotic thinking, and certainly people who have manias often drink to try to quell their problem with racing thoughts and an inability to sleep."

There are similarities, she says, between Lawrence's irrational episodes and the symptoms of bipolar disorder, or what's commonly called manic-depression. The illness often shows up in a person's twenties. "People fluctuate in their mood, from a high, where they feel tremendous energy, have little need for sleep, often have increased productivity, increased sexuality. It sometimes progresses to irritability, to grandiose delusions and paranoia. If left untreated a person can become increasingly psychotic, and lose touch with reality."

'Porker's' Revenge

Lawrence was born in New York, and his family moved to Landover, Md., when he was 3. His father was an Air Force sergeant who left the family when Martin was 8; his mother raised six children working as a cashier. The impoverished family remained close-knit. In 1993 Lawrence told an interviewer, "We grew to know the meaning of love. That is what allowed me and my family to stay close together."

A chubby kid, Martin -- nicknamed "Porker" -- used to practice comedy routines on street corners and, after graduating from Greenbelt's Eleanor Roosevelt High School, started to perform on the Washington club circuit -- the Comedy Cafe, the Comedy Connection. Fate struck: He was noticed by a scout for the TV talent show "Star Search" in 1987, propelling him to Hollywood, where he got a part in a show called "What's Happening Now!" But the momentum quickly fizzled; the show was canceled after 14 episodes.

He worked the clubs, finally hitting his stride in 1992 with his in-your-face hosting of HBO's "Def Comedy Jam," a showcase of young comic talent. He built his name on a routine filled with unrestrained and -- to many -- offensive scatological and sexual jokes and was criticized by Bill Cosby, among others, for projecting a gutter image of black men. Lawrence reveled in the controversy. In 1992 he began his Fox sitcom, playing a Detroit deejay in an innuendo-filled relationship with Campbell. In the interim he has had a hit concert film, "You So Crazy," and a hit action-comedy, "Bad Boys," co-starring Will Smith, and has directed his first feature, "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate," in which he also starred.

But if the pressures of fame were getting to Lawrence, it didn't show in public, at least not until last year. He hired his family members and hometown friends, buying them houses and cars as he grew increasingly wealthy. He met former Miss Virginia Patricia Southall in 1992 and married her in January 1995; they soon had a child. Friends of Lawrence's whisper vindictively that Patricia is a gold-digger out for the comedian's money and contacts. She is contesting a prenuptial agreement and demanding $50,000 a month to maintain the lifestyle to which she's become accustomed.

But Patricia Lawrence says she still loves her ex-husband and left him only because she feared for the safety of herself and her child. She says she fervently hopes he gets help. "I do not think that [divorce] was something she wanted, no," says her lawyer, Suzanne Harris. "It doesn't mean she doesn't love him. . . . But he wasn't doing these crazy things when they met."

What, Me Worry?
It may be that Martin Lawrence doesn't think he has a problem. He may believe that things are under control, that the negative publicity will pass if he just ignores it. He has not showed up at any of the court hearings related to his alleged behavior and failed to attend the proceedings of his own divorce. A successful movie right about now might be one way to refocus attention from all this nasty stuff. But it will do nothing to erase any problems. His sitcom is finished and there are no films in the works, despite producer Josephson's promise of an upcoming script. But for the moment, at least, he still has friends in Hollywood. "I'd work with him in a second," says Oedekerk. "He comes from a place where he may not go through life behaving as everyone else, but he genuinely is a nice guy."

To watch clips of Martin go to

For the Martin Fanpage go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

To watch the opening credits go to and and
Date: Sun February 20, 2005 � Filesize: 22.0kb � Dimensions: 376 x 480 �
Keywords: Martin Cast (Links Updated 7/31/18)


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