The Martin Lawrence of recent years is a different person, to be expected when time and age factor into the grand scheme of life. The Martin Lawrence of 20 years ago? Totally different animal.
By 1994, he was already one of the more controversial names in Hollywood thanks to a widely popular sitcom, his first major standup film in You So Crazy and a now-infamous Saturday Night Live hosting appearance. The latter earned a lifetime ban, pissing censors off to the point some SNL employees nearly lost their jobs. Then there was Ol’ Marty Mar’s role in the culturally acclaimed (just made that phrase up, by the way) Def Comedy Jam.
Damn-near every Black comedian in a two-decade span graced DCJ’s stage, from Joe Clair, Cedric The Entertainer, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, Arnez J. and J.B. Smoove. However, this particular instance saw Martin as host. Only this time there’d be no ban and the vulgarity was amplified tenfold.
Without the threat of censors or anything of the sort, Lawrence launched into full-fledged IDGAF-mode. Derrick Coleman and Ed Lover received shout outs, as do Lawrence Taylor and Ice T with instigating as only someone like Martin could, coining their mothers “Albino linebackers.”
But it’s when Martin focuses his attention on Todd 1, his relationship and alleged MC Lyte tattoo when things take a turn in the OMG-worthy direction. If the title already didn’t reveal enough, I’ll spare the details for the actual clip. To Todd’s credit – the OG he is – he took the entire joke in stride, even as Coleman and Ed Lover completely lose their sh*t.
The lessons in all this are simple. Was the MC Lyte shot uncalled for? Probably, but it’s standup, uncensored comedy and pretty much anything goes in that arena. Ignorant? Yeah, but again, this Martin at the apex of his popularity. He thrived on pushing envelopes. But Martin was bold as hell, yo.
The other mandate? Never, under any circumstances, sit front row at a comedy show.