August 2002
Martin Lawrence : Back on Top

Martin Lawrence : Back on Top

When we first saw a skinny Martin Lawrence in a Spike Lee Joint, who would have imagined that a scene at the fire hydrant would lead to being the first of host of Def Comedy Jam and then on to creating one of the most successful television shows in the history of TV? From making phrases like, “Wuzzup,” “talk to the hand,” and “get to steppin,” household language, Martin has defined comedy much like predecessors Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson.

Now, the once skinny stand-up from Washington D.C. has become a bona fide Hollywood star complete with star on the Walk of Fame and the creative power to hold his own and call his own shots. But do we really understand Martin? Will he go down in pop culture history as a legend? Will his characters be forgotten? His stand-up?


I had the pleasure of working with our team in promoting his new film, RUNTELDAT, in five cities (Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Richmond, VA, Norfolk, VA) and we were amazed. In each city, we sold out of tickets and audiences laughed until they made happy. And that is the rare gift of a true comedian. The ability to suspend you in the air so that the pressures of the day seem a distant memory and only the ultimate frailties of life are tossed at you like fastballs for more than an hour.

I asked Martin about what the pressure is like for him and his peers, Cedric The Entertainer, Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy, Steve Harvey, Damon, D.L. and a few others that are in essence, holding it down. He responded, “the pressure is what gets you going. I like the competition. And I am honored to be mentioned with this class of comedians.”

Obviously, the skinny kid is now a man. Able to understand that the “business” in show business is not there for aesthetic purposes.

His new stand-up routine, filmed on-stage at Constitution Hall in Washington DC is as open and honest as any stand-up performance you will ever see. Not since “Richard Pryor’s Live on Sunset Strip,” has a comedian taken us inside his mind and world so deeply. From the run-ins with the law, his marriage, his health, and a host of other issues, and circumstances that we all face. So real, so honest. Now that’s gangsta.

When we spoke, he also eloquently explained how God had given him a great gift to make people laugh and that’s what made him get his act together. But wait until you witness his explanation in the film on the judge that also helped him straighten up.

Whatever happens to us, the trials and tribulations are there. That’s what life is all about.

Martin explained, “even through all of the stuff, the negativity and all that, we fall down, but we get back up.”

And back up is where Martin Lawrence is. Back up on top. Now Run Tel Dat!