Full name: Martin Payne
Also known as: Martini, Inch High Private Eye, Donald Stump, Mr. Payne
Residence: Detroit, Michigan
Personality: Selfish, mean (Sometimes)
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Brown
Likes: His mama's biscuits, Mama Payne, making jokes about Pam (Pamela), Nadine
Dislikes: Pam (Pamela), when Gina was making more money than him, Cliff
• Unnamed great-grandmother
• Unnamed grandmother
• Mama Payne (Mother)
• Unnamed father
• Mama Payne's other children (Sister(s) and/or Brother(s)
• Gina Payne (Wife)
• Sunny (Maternal Uncle)
• Junior (Cousin)
• The Country Paynes (1st cousin 1x removed)
• Fluorine (1st cousin 1x removed)
• Unnamed grandmother-in-law
• Nadine Waters (Mother-in-law)
• Cliff Waters (Father-in-law)
• Tommy Srawn (Beat friend)
• Cole Brown (Best friend)
• Gina Payne
• Pamela James
Martin was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan with his two best friends Tommy Strawn (Thomas Mikal Ford) and Cole Brown (Carl Anthony Payne II). He was raised by his mother Edna "Mama" Payne. His father is mentioned once in the pilot episode, "Beauty and the Beast." During his high school years, Martin had a rivalry with the popular guy, Ricky "Pretty Ricky" Fontaine (portrayed by Miguel A. Nunez Jr.). Personality
Martin is a sweetheart deep down, but on the outside, he acts like an egotistical, selfish jerk. Sometimes his girlfriend (later wife) Gina Waters (Tisha Campbell) tries to straighten him out, but it may not last very long. In earlier episodes, on his radio show, Martin would discuss topics that would offend Gina or his friends, and cause a ruckus among the group. When he realizes he is wrong, he will do the right thing and apologize to the people he offended (usually Gina).
Martin's nicer side comes out whenever a friend is in need. For instance, when he and Tommy got into a feud and Tommy gets in a car wreck a little while later, Martin and the rest of the gang rush to Tommy's aid.
On holiday-themed episodes, Martin may be irritable or mean at first but in the end, he does what's right. When his friends needed him to be Santa Claus at a youth center, Martin disagreed at first, but in order to give the children a nice Christmas, he came to the center and told Christmas fables to the kids, even though they were mostly farce.
The person who Martin is kindest to the most is Gina. He holds bitter rivalry with Gina's best friend Pamela James. His father was only mentioned once on the first episode by Mama Payne, his father is possibly deceased also his grandmother was mentioned at least twice also her mother (Martin's great-grandmother) was mentioned once their both most likely deceased. He's also the grandson-in-law of Gina's possibly deceased grandmother.
In Seasons 1-2, Martin worked as a radio DJ with his own show on WZUP, a fictional radio station. Martin's topics were always interesting but insulting. Martin always spoke the truth on his show. Most of the topics he talked about included relationships and celebrity guests, and sometimes he talked about his relationship with Gina. Periodically, his topics insulted his friends, and he unintentionally exposed their personal business. For instance, Martin accidentally revealed Pam's secret to getting promotions at work.
Martin's boss was an eccentric, tacky-dressing man named Stan Winters (Garrett Morris). Stan was truly a good person, but his wacky personality sometimes got on Martin's nerves. On Martin's radio show, he had a good fan reception and had many celebrity guests on his show (such as Richard Pryor and Keith Washington).
Martin's co-worker Shawn (Jon Gries) was the station's engineer. Even though Shawn was a little dimwitted and weird, he always offered Martin good advice. At the end of Season 2, in Shawn's final episode, when WZUP was rebranded as a country station under new management and Martin lost his job, Shawn basically told Martin to follow his dreams and to never give up. Despite advice from Shawn and everyone else around him, Martin grew very depressed and ran away from his everyday life and was missing for a long period of time.
After a long search, Gina, Tommy, Cole and Pam finally found Martin at the beginning of Season 3. He was hiding out at a mysterious temple under the name "Shaquille Sunflower," and grew a bushy afro with one braid on it. When the gang broke in and confronted Martin/"Sunflower," Gina told him that she would wait for him but not forever. After Gina and the others left, Martin/"Sunflower" broke out of the temple and returned home. For a while, it was hard for him to find a job, and when he auditioned for his own talk show at the Channel 51 TV station, he didn't get a show but he managed to get a job as associate producer on a local talk show titled Word on the Street.
When his show's host got arrested, Martin became both Word on the Street's new host and producer. Over time, his show became a huge hit. Martin's show was similar to his radio show. Some of his guests included The Notorious B.I.G. and Charles Barkley. His new boss was Ms. Rodriguez, a kind-hearted woman who always agreed with his ideas, and his co-worker Berniece always gave him a hard time. In the series finale, Word on the Street got picked up by a major TV station in Los Angeles and became a nationwide talk show. He and Gina were forced to move, and say goodbye to their friends.
Gina is Martin's soul mate. It is revealed in the Season 2 episode "Do You Remember the Time?" that they met a party; Martin lied and said he was Gina's date when Pam was going to have security put him out. That was the night they fell in love and became a couple.
Martin and Gina's relationship had its ups and downs. They almost broke up in Season 1 in the three-part episode "Break Up," but in the end, they got back together. After a while, Gina was ready to settle down, but Martin kept refusing to marry her. But after advice from everyone around him, Martin realized that he had to do the right thing by Gina, and proposed to her in the park with Brian McKnight singing to her; she accepted. They finally married at the end of Season 3.
During the fourth season, Martin and Gina adjusted to their lives as a married couple. In the middle of Season 5, Gina was written out of the series when Tisha Campbell and Martin Lawrence began feuding. Campbell's absence from the show was explained by Gina being away in Los Angeles working; she and Martin would speak to each other over the phone. However, Gina did return for the series finale.
Tommy and Cole have been Martin's best friends since childhood. Tommy is the brains of the group, having the most common sense and best attitude; Cole, in contrast, is a nice guy but very dimwitted, much to Martin's irritation.
In the Season 3 episode "Best and Bester," it is revealed that Tommy stole Martin's girlfriend in kindergarten, and that Cole had accidentally killed Martin's beloved pet turtle Scrappy. In Season 4, Martin and Tommy got into an argument, but when Tommy was injured in a car wreck, Martin felt guilty and frantically searched a hospital to make amends with him; they became friends again and squashed the disagreement.
Sometimes when Cole makes stupid comments, Martin gets frustrated and tries to attack Cole. In the series finale, Tommy and Cole throw Martin a going-away party at Nipsey's.
Martin hates Gina's best friend/co-worker Pam. Every time Pam comes around, Martin always picks on her for no reason. Though she sometimes starts an argument with him then claims he started it when he retaliates, which everyone agrees with for some reason. He calls her cruel names such as "Scrappy Doo", "Angela Bassett-Hound" and much more.
However, when Pam is in need of help, Martin will come to her aid. Deep down, Martin doesn't really hate Pam. In the finale, when Martin is moving away, Pam admits that Martin is a real friend to her, and she kisses him on the cheek goodbye. Martin remarks to Tommy and Cole that if she gives him a kiss goodbye, it must really mean goodbye. His insults are usually about her looks, hair and body odor.
A running gag on the series is the fact that Martin is a spoiled mama's boy. Edna "Mama" Payne (also portrayed by Lawrence) spoils Martin and caters to him. She still sees him as her baby. Mama hates Gina because she thinks she is trying to take Martin from her.