In 1992, during a much-less diverse era of television, Martin Lawrence joined fellow comedians like Roseanne Barr and Jerry Seinfeld with a show named after themselves and took the sitcom world by storm for five seasons. Martin’s off-script, off-the-cuff delivery and cast made everything work together. From the funny characters Martin played like Sheneneh, Jerome or Dragon Fly Jones, Martin had everyone cracking up.
Now, 25 years later, the comedian and cast reflect on it’s success.
“We kept it real,” says martin to Buzzfeed. “We gave them a lot of fun, even when we did farfetched shows that were over the top, they still believed in us. They enjoyed every moment, even when they were crazy. You could tell we were having a lot of fun and people enjoyed that. And they could feel that realness and the genuine love that we had for what we did.”
“It showed that comedy could be natural in a scripted show. We just wanted to give people that energy. I also had a cast that could keep up with me.”
Tichina Arnold who played Pam on the show said, “The rest of the cast would try to stay on script. But Martin, forget about it. Him staying on script is unheard of. His physical comedy and humor goes far beyond any average person. Cameras would roll and we would just watch him. He was a comedic genius! The first time he went off script, we just knew that’s how it was going to be for the rest of the show and that turned out to be much better than what it would have been if he stuck to the script. Him going off script made Martin what it is.”
When asked about the characters and how he come up with them, Martin simply said they came from “Life and people I’ve met throughout the years. There’s definitely people in my family that have been inspirational during the character-making process. A lot of the people I’ve met in my life have taught and showed me things.”
“I have a few favorites: Sheneneh, Jerome, Dragon Fly Jones, and Otis. I really enjoyed playing those characters, because they were so original.”