Martin (TV series): Wikis


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The main characters of Martin (from left to right), Tommy, Gina, Martin, Pam and Cole.
Genre Sitcom
Created by John Bowman
Martin Lawrence
Topper Carew
Starring Martin Lawrence
Thomas Mikal Ford
Carl Anthony Payne II
Tichina Arnold
Tisha Campbell
Jonathan Gries
Garrett Morris
Theme music composer Steve Keitt
Joey Kibble
Mark Kibble
Composer(s) Bill Maxwell
Greg Poree
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English.
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 132 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) John Bowman
Topper Carew
Martin Lawrence
Samm-Art Williams
Producer(s) Walter Barnett
Terry Crotzer
Mark J. Greenberg
Cheryl Holliday
Bennie R. Richburg, Jr.
Cinematography William Updegraff
Gary W. Scott
Alan Walker
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Home Box Office
You Go Boy! Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures
Original channel Fox
Original run August 27, 1992 (1992-08-27) – May 1, 1997 (1997-05-01)
Status Ended

Martin is an American sitcom produced by HBO Independent Productions (a subsidiary of HBO) that aired for five seasons, from August 27, 1992 to May 1, 1997 on Fox. The show stars actor-comedian Martin Lawrence, Thomas Mikal Ford, Tichina Arnold, Carl Anthony Payne II, and Tisha Campbell-Martin.

Reflecting the rising popularity of the Fox network throughout the 1990s, Martin was one of the network's highest-rated shows during the sitcom's five-season run. In contrast to the popularity of NBC's "Must See TV" on Thursday nights in the 1990s, many African American viewers flocked to Fox's Thursday night line-up of Martin, Living Single, and New York Undercover. In fact, these were the three highest-rated series among Black households for the 1996–1997 season. (In order of popularity, Living Single, New York Undercover, and Martin.)[1]



Set in Detroit, Michigan, the series stars Martin Lawrence in the role of Martin Payne, a young disc jockey who in later seasons becomes a television talk-show host, and his comic misadventures with his closest friends. Martin works for the fictional radio station WZUP, and later for local public-access TV station Channel 51. A common theme of the series is Martin's derisive and brash nature; episodes often center on Martin's inconsiderate attitude towards his friends, neighbors, and whomever else might find themselves in his presence. When all is said and done, though, Martin loves his family and friends—it just takes dire situations to bring it to light.

As the series progressed, plotlines saw Martin lose his job with WZUP and eventually move on to become the host of the talk show "Word on the Street," which aired on the small Detroit public-access TV station Channel 51. He retained this position until the series' final episode, in which he and Gina prepared to move to Los Angeles, from where his show would be syndicated nationally. The move coincided fortuitously with Gina's promotion by her boss Mr. Whitaker to head up his company's new Los Angeles headquarters, after having shut down the Detroit office. Pam, whom Whitaker let go two episodes earlier due to this consolidation and downsizing, went on to pursue a career in the music industry as an artists & repertoire (A&R) executive at Keep It Real Records. (This plotline is the subject of a pilot episode that was included in the Martin series for a planned sitcom on Fox starring Tichina Arnold to be called Goin' for Mine [Episode 129, "Goin' for Mine"]. This sitcom never materialized, though.) And at series' end, Cole proposed to his even more dimwitted but attractive and devoted girlfriend Shanise (portrayed by Maura McDade), and they made plans to move into their own place.

Regular characters

  • Gina Waters (Tisha Campbell-Martin) (1992–1996, 1997), Martin's more level-headed, longsuffering better half, girlfriend and later his wife. Gina works for a public-relations firm headed by Mr. Whitaker (portrayed by Michael Colyar in a recurring role). Campbell left the series after Season Four (her voice occasionally being heard off-camera) but made guest appearances in Season Five and in the series finale. Regardless, she is still credited as a regular cast member that final season.
  • Tommy Strawn (Thomas Mikal Ford), one of Martin's two best friends since childhood, a self-confident and worldly young man whose mysterious employment status is the subject of frequent debate among them all. Regarding Tommy's last name, there is some confusion as to whether it was actually "Strong" or "Strawn" (the former being the most widely assumed). In Season Five, Episode Nine ("World Famous," airdate April 3, 1997), Tommy's father, Sgt. Hamilton Strawn (portrayed by John Amos), comes to visit; he and the gang have drinks at Nipsey's, where Tommy and his father end up competing vigorously for the attentions of an attractive young woman. In this episode Sgt. Strawn is seen, throughout his first scene, wearing military fatigues. In several close-ups during this scene the name "Strawn" is clearly visible on the left breast of his uniform. Tommy's name is also spelled "Strawn" on his basketball jersey in the episode featuring the women's Olympic basketball team. When his job is brought up people say, "everyone knows you ain't got no job!". Martin is sometimes cautious because Tommy's line of work is unknown and suspicious.
  • Cole Brown (Carl Anthony Payne II), Martin's other best friend. Dimwitted but well-meaning, and known for his eclectic taste in headgear, he proudly cleans jets at the airport for a living, and lives with his mother Maddie (portrayed by comedienne Laura Hayes) until Season Five. For a time, Cole appeared to be attracted strictly to plus-sized women, and until the final season dated a security guard named "Big Shirley" (who is fully seen in only one episode; another episode only showed "her" below the neck to portray her as being much taller and bigger than Cole). In that final season, he moves into his own apartment in a rough neighborhood, and dates Shanise, who appears to be even more dimwitted than he is. During the series finale, he becomes engaged to Shanise.
  • Pamela James (Tichina Arnold), Gina's sassy, explosive best friend who is consistently portrayed as Martin's antagonist. Initially, Pam worked in a boutique on commission. In later episodes, it's revealed that she works at the PR firm where Gina is employed, as Gina's subordinate. Pam and Tommy were occasionally flirtatious with each other in the beginning, and this developed into a romantic relationship for a time, later in the series. During Season One, Cole harbored an unrequited crush on Pam, which she usually responded to by losing her temper with him.
  • Shawn McDermott (Jonathan Gries) (1992–1994), the white, scatterbrained producer of Martin's show at WZUP, Martin always finds himself having rather strange conversations with him. Shawn often does things that upset their boss Stan, and once even tried to secure a record deal from Snoop Dogg when he was at an engagement party for Martin & Gina. Shawn was later fired, along with Martin, when Stan sold the radio station.
  • Stan Winters (Garrett Morris) [1992–1994; 1995 (guest appearance)] was Martin's and Shawn's boss, the owner and founder of radio station WZUP. He perpetually used too much cologne and wore woefully outdated clothing from the 1970s. Martin knew Stan to be cheap and quite untrustworthy, and just when Martin didn't think Stan could sink any lower with his schemes, Stan was always able to surprise him. Furthermore, Stan got into trouble with the IRS due to a debt of $20,000 in unpaid taxes, precipitating his sale of the radio station and subsequent flight to parts unknown. He returned for one episode in Season Three to form a partnership with Martin, and together they opened a restaurant—Marty Mart's Meatloaf and Waffles. Needless to say, their joint venture was a failure, whereupon Stan left and was never mentioned again in the series.

Recurring characters

  • Bruh-Man (portrayed by comedian Reginald Ballard): Bruh-Man is an extremely presumptuous young man who lives on the fifth "flo" directly upstairs from Martin (yet he always puts 4 fingers up when relating this fact). Whenever Martin asks what he is doing, Bruh-Man replies, "nuttin' ....just chillin'." He often climbs down the "f-a-a-a-ah 'scape" to break into Martin's apartment, taking food, borrowing assorted items, and generally lounging around as if he lives there. In fact, the fire escape seems to be his only means of movement throughout the building—he is seldom seen entering or exiting the apartment through the front door. Bruh-Man always wears badly fitting clothing a size or two too small (frequently, items he's "borrowed" from Martin), and has a characteristic gait consisting of a slow and lazy, rather limping, plodding walk, with his head cocked to one side. Martin, as Bruh-Man was heading toward the window to make his exit, once referred to it as his "slow bop." Bruh-Man speaks in a deep voice and with a long drawl, not unlike that of Shaquille O'Neal.
  • Nadine Waters (portrayed by Judyann Elder): Gina's doting and somewhat overprotective mother, who comes on as sophisticated, sweet and mild-mannered on the surface, but has shown a dark side on occasion—such as once getting immediately turned on by a brief scene from a porn video, and generally becoming quite flustered whenever conversation or situations turned to sexual subjects.
  • Ms. Geri (portrayed by Jeri Gray): A tough, trigger-happy senior who, regardless of her age and diminutive size, has no qualms about "whoopin' ass." Most of her assaults are committed on Martin in mundane, everyday situations, such as standing in line at the DMV or at the unemployment office. On one occasion, her opponent was Dragonfly Jones (portrayed by Lawrence), whom she soundly defeated as well, taking his money for good measure.
  • Hustle Man (portrayed by comedian Tracy Morgan): The neighborhood purveyor of questionable products and services "at a discount rate! I don't do dat for erra'body! I'm just tryna help YOU out!" He always greets Martin with his trademark "What's happenin', chief?" In one episode, one of Hustle Man's more outrageous items for sale was an 'appetizing' array of roasted pigeons impaled on a tree branch (as if barbecued on it), which he attempted to sell to Martin and his friends while they were snowed in and starving. In another episode he served as Martin's cut-rate "wedding planner," armed with a shopping cart brimming with plastic flowers, chitlin loaf, and a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor—Martin's retaliation for Gina's choice of a more elegant and ridiculously overpriced wedding planner.
  • Nipsey (portrayed by Sean Lampkin): The rotund, good-natured bartender who owns Nipsey's Lounge, the group's favorite hangout.
  • Mr. Jim (portrayed by John Wesley): Martin's barber since childhood, and proprietor of Jim's Barber Shop. Greatly respected by everyone in the neighborhood, he seems to take a paternalistic interest in Martin, and tries to advise him as best he can when called upon to do so. Mr. Jim takes pride in the fact that he can remember the nickname he has given each and every "regular" that ever sat in his barber's chair.
  • Lil' Dawg (portrayed by Adrian Tibbs): A tall, lanky barber at Jim's Barber Shop whose unorthodox personal style is the subject of much ribbing in the workplace—he keeps his head nearly shaved, but grows a long mane of hair in back, and wears Coke-bottle-thick glasses. He is often seen at Nipsey's trolling for women (successfully!), and despite his looks and demeanor always seems to come out on top whenever he and Martin have a disagreement.
  • Buckwhite (portrayed by Ray Massara): A very easygoing, tall white boy with a huge dark-coloured Afro, Buckwhite has been seen hanging out at Jim's Barber Shop, at Martin's apartment for various sporting events on TV, and at Nipsey's Lounge. He speaks Ebonics in an unaffected "normal" white manner. (Massara is actually a property master and special-effects assistant in the film and television industry; at the time of his appearances on Martin, he was that production's property master.)
  • Angry Man (portrayed by David Jean Thomas): A faithful audience member of Martin's "Word on the Street" television program. Quite possibly Martin's number-one fan, he is prone to standing up and shouting "Man.... SIT-CHO ASS DOWN!!" when a guest (or anyone else, for that matter) says something he disagrees with.
  • Maddie (portrayed by Laura Hayes): Cole's acid-tongued, no-nonsense mother.
  • Mrs. Porter (portrayed by LaWanda Page): A senior resident who lives in Martin's apartment building who is also friends with Mama Payne and Cole's mother, Maddie.
  • The Reverend Leon Lonnie Love (portrayed by David Alan Grier): A local fire-and-brimstone preacher whose brand of religion doesn't seem to frown upon avarice, lying, cheating, stealing, and philandering—even with his own cousin Pam.
  • Marian (portrayed by Roxanne Reese): A seemingly well-heeled, middle-aged neighborhood lush who seems to show up at every nightclub or party that Martin attends.
  • Laquita (portrayed by Simbi Khali): The nail stylist at Sheneneh's Sho' Nuff Hair Salon and Sheneneh's even-more loudmouthed best friend, if that were possible.
  • Keylolo (portrayed by rapper Yo-Yo): A hairstylist at Sheneneh's Sho' Nuff Hair Salon
  • Luis (portrayed by Luis Antonio Ramos): The superintendent of the apartment building where Martin lives. In one episode, he marries Pam to avoid deportation.
  • Titus (portrayed by Bentley Kyle Evans): A handsome well-dressed guy who is Gina's hairdresser, and seems to be attracted to Martin—affectionately calling him "Almond." (Evans was the executive producer of Martin; he made several cameo and voice-only appearances throughout the series, including one of the callers on WZUP, a guest at one of Gina's parties, and the only guy who appeared at an all-male fashion show that Pam and Tommy sponsored.)

Other roles played by Lawrence

One of the trademarks of Martin, especially early in its run, was Lawrence playing multiple characters, utilizing various costumes and prosthetic applications.

  • Sheneneh Jenkins: A stereotypically flashy Detroit "ghetto girl," she is owner/operator of Sheneneh's Sho' Nuff Hair Salon, whom Lawrence played in drag. Mama Payne and Sheneneh were the only two characters Lawrence played in drag on the show, and both characters hated Gina. Though Sheneneh is awkwardly tall and thick in build, she often characterizes herself as a "la-a-a-dy." She's portrayed as being very mouthy, confrontational, and feisty. She lives in the apartment across the hallway from Martin's, and factors into many of the plots by picking fights with Gina, and especially Pam, out in the hallway. Sheneneh has several girlfriends who appear occasionally.
  • Edna (Mama) Payne: Martin's shrill, extremely frenetic, and easily excited mother, who is insanely overprotective of Martin, and who dislikes Gina immensely. Comically, Lawrence's mustache was never covered with stage make-up while in this role. Mama's mustache was occasionally the subject of a sharp retort by Gina when she and Martin argued. She has a brother named Junior (portrayed by John Witherspoon).
  • Otis: An abrasive, Draconian, potbellied old man who is always seen in uniform while on his job as a security guard. Otis is usually seen melodramatically attempting to keep order whether there's trouble or not. Because of his immense gut, advanced age, and oafish appearance, Otis is often taken for a weak old man who just acts tough. Because of this, he's often challenged in some way, usually to physical altercations, which he is more than willing to engage in. Surprisingly, his buffoonish style of wrestling and unexpected strength always catch his "antagonists" off guard, and he is invariably the victor, easily defeating all challengers.
  • Jerome: A loudmouthed, aging, still well-funded, once-flashy but now-faded Detroit pimp. He runs an illicit casino, sports a family-heirloom "gold toof-es" in his mouth, was once voted Detroit's "Player of the Year," and has his sights set on Pam. He often speaks in rhyming sentences.
  • Roscoe: A 10-year-old kid with a constantly runny nose and a very smart mouth. Lawrence played the role by standing on his knees, with shoes attached to his kneecaps.
  • Dragonfly Jones: A martial arts "expert" who is beaten up in nearly every appearance. He always seems to owe money to a real martial artist, who is actually a student of Dragonfly's named Kenji, who would often beat Dragonfly up when he refused to pay him some small sum he was owed.
  • Bob: A white man who works in an unknown capacity at the marketing firm where Gina is employed, Bob is best described as a stereotypical surfer-dude-cum-redneck. He speaks in a Southern Californian accent mixed with a Southern twang, and often uses words like "dude" and "man," even in professional settings. Lawrence achieved his appearance as this character with stage make-up and a prosthetic nose attachment to make him appear white, as well as wearing a long, blond mullet wig to complete the look.
  • Elroy Preston: The fictional "Godfather of Black Surf Music" who is now completely forgotten and washed up. Preston works as an auto mechanic, and is best known for randomly breaking into song while performing his mechanical duties. He often distracts himself and irritates others when reminiscing on things that involve his trademark song, which consists only of Preston singing "Don't you know no good!" over and over.
  • King Beef: Cole's favorite '70s blaxploitation movie actor, which is actually Lawrence in a huge bodysuit. Whenever trouble arises, he feels the overwhelming need to dance. It doesn't matter if he is on the run from Godzilla—he always finds time for dancing, and always with his scantily clad female co-stars flanking him.

Special guest appearances


Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1994 NAACP Image Awards Won Outstanding Comedy Series
1995 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Martin Lawrence
Outstanding Comedy Series
1996 Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Marla Gibbs
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Carl Anthony Payne II
Thomas Mikal Ford
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Tisha Campbell-Martin
Outstanding Comedy Series
Won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Tichina Arnold
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Martin Lawrence
1997 Nominated Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Tisha Campbell-Martin
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Martin Lawrence
Outstanding Comedy Series
1995 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Nominated Favorite Television Show
Favorite Television Actor Martin Lawrence
1996 Favorite Television Actor Martin Lawrence
1993 People's Choice Awards Won Favorite TV New Comedy Series

Syndication and DVD releases

Reruns air in syndication in most major U.S. cities, and also air daily nationwide on the TV One cable network.

HBO Home Video has released all five seasons of Martin on DVD in Region 1. The fifth and final season was released on October 7, 2008.[2]

DVD Name Release Date Ep # Additional Information
The Complete First Season January 2, 2007 27 Bonus features include bloopers and Martin Lawrence commentary on his favorite scenes.[3]
The Complete Second Season May 15, 2007 27 Bonus features include a gag reel.[4]
The Complete Third Season November 6, 2007 27 No bonus features
The Complete Fourth Season April 1, 2008 27 No bonus features
The Complete Fifth and final Season October 7, 2008 24 No bonus features


External links


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