'Martin' cast reunites to tape 30th anniversary special

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Martin Lawrence looks back at his lauded career, the actor-comedian proudly thinks about how his hit ’90s sitcom “Martin” still remains relevant today.

Now, Lawrence wants to celebrate his show’s long-lasting success. He, along with the surviving cast of the beloved comedy series, will reunite for a 30th anniversary special, which will focus on the show's origin and evolution.

The reunion special, which was taped Sunday, is expected to air this summer on BET+.

“We’re sitting here three decades in, baby,” Lawrence yelled out with excitement during an interview with The Associated Press over the weekend beside his co-stars Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II. He called his show’s impact on pop culture a “blessing.”

The special — hosted by comedian-actor Affion Crockett — will feature interviews with the cast, original directors, special musical performances and behind-the-scenes commentary of the show’s influence.

“Coming to Hollywood and have conquered it in a sense and having (my) own show, I couldn’t ask for much more,” said Lawrence, who starred in a plethora of films including “Bad Boys,” “Big Momma's House” and “Boomerang.”

“Martin,” which premiered on Fox in 1992, starred Lawrence – who played several characters including Martin Payne, Sheneneh Jenkins, Otis, Dragonfly Jones and Jerome. The sitcom also starred Campbell as Martin's girlfriend and eventual wife, Gina; Arnold as Gina’s best friend, Pam; and Martin’s two friends, Payne as Cole and Tommy, who was played by the late Thomas Ford.

Arnold said she'll miss hearing the infectious laugh from Ford, who died in 2016.

“It’s a void. He most definitely missed,” Lawrence said of Ford, who played Martin's level-headed pal. “We love him so much. May he rest in peace.”

The sitcom came to an end in 1997 amid a rift between Lawrence and Campbell. She accused Lawrence of sexual harassment and reportedly agreed to return to the show's final season only in separate scenes from him.

Both have since settled their differences and reconciled.

While sitting next to Lawrence, Campbell said she's grateful to film the reunion special. The actor said she's still in awe by the show's popularity after so many years.

“When people still pay homage or revere this show, that does it for me,” Campbell said. “I grew up watching ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Brady Brunch.’ I used to think ’That’ll probably never happen to a Black show,' but it happened.”

Payne echoed Campbell’s sentiments adding that “'Martin' left an influential mark on their generation and others “coming after us.”

“We didn’t know what we had back then,” Arnold said. “But three decades later, here we are. Now we’re seeing the things that we’ve sewn into.”

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