Martin Lawrence, an actor, and comedian who had a successful long-running TV show, a top-selling stand-up record, and a number of box office successes, was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars for most of the 1990s. But like numerous other famous people over the years, Lawrence struggled to keep up his momentum over time. After a few misguided endeavors and the gradual demise of his long-running sitcom, his rise stalled at the end of the decade, and his star power has been declining ever since.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve missed Lawrence’s distinct sense of humor and have spent the previous few years wondering where their beloved “bad boy” has vanished to. Here is a look at what the comedian has been up to over the years. We went deeply into Lawrence’s personal and professional background to determine where he has been and where he is heading.
The Initial Years
Lawrence wasn’t always planning to work in the entertainment industry; in fact, the future star was a Mid-Atlantic Gold Glove boxer while still in high school. He intended to be a professional fighter, but he gave up after suffering a terrible eye injury, so he turned to stand-up comedy instead.
After migrating to New York, Lawrence established himself as a regular performer at the Improv comedy club. His humorous, frequently combative performance attracted the attention of television producers, and he made his TV debut on What’s Happening! sequel series What’s Happening Now!
Then came a brief but noteworthy role in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, along with a number of more supporting roles.
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The Scoundrel of Television and Movies
Russell Simmons, the CEO of Def Jam Recordings, gave Lawrence a head start in 1992 by hand-picking him to be the inaugural host of Def Comedy Jams, his HBO series that featured up-and-coming black comedians. One of the initial performances Lawrence debuted? an infantile Chris Tucker.
It ended up being a crucial year for Lawrence. He not only gave a scene-stealing performance in the Eddie Murphy comedy Boomerang, but he also showcased his abilities in his own Fox sitcom, Martin, which has the same name.
The program was a huge success with viewers, making its star a household name. His catchphrase “wazzup!” even gained some notoriety in popular culture. That was sufficient to secure him a part opposite another TV star in a significant Hollywood production. Will Smith served as the co-star in the movie Bad Boys, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Between Work and Tiredness, There Is a Fine Line
Lawrence kept himself busy after experiencing significant box office success—possibly a little too much. The actor aimed to demonstrate his writing and directing skills as well as his leading man status with his first part after Bad Boys.
The actor suffered a breakdown on the set and was hospitalized for fatigue weeks into filming the dark romantic comedy A Thin Line Between Love And Hate, suggesting that the burden of carrying a movie almost entirely on his own may have been too much. The movie would eventually become a minor hit, but the incident undoubtedly hurt his standing in Hollywood.
Instead of taking a break, Lawrence kept scheduling new projects. He also experienced another episode, this time prowling the streets of Los Angeles while brandishing a gun and yelling at passing automobiles, “They’re trying to murder me!” His second bout of tiredness necessitated another trip to the hospital. Lawrence understood the lesson this time and withdrew from the spotlight to heal.
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Personal Tragedies and Daily Life
Lawrence’s personal life deteriorated while his professional success soared. The comedian struggled with personal troubles during much of the 1990s, which threatened to ruin his career. In 1993, he got engaged to Saved By The Bell actor Lark Voorhies, but they broke up before the year was out.
He got over it by getting married to the former Miss Virginia Patricia Southall in 1995. They had two kids together before being divorced in 1997. Lawrence used the time until his next wedding to gather his strength, play the adoring father to his children, and work on getting his act back together. It would be more than ten years before Lawrence would walk down the aisle once more.
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Large Momma Bounces Back with A Big Screen.
With the release of the hit comedy Life and Blue Streak in 1999, Lawrence gradually earned his way back into the good graces of Hollywood. However, while he was gearing up for his upcoming movie, Big Momma’s House, he also managed to re-enter the tabloids.
When Lawrence fainted while training in his Big Momma “fat suit” in the sweltering heat, he fell into a three-day coma and came dangerously close to dying. The film’s release in theatres in 2000 was delayed while he healed, but the wait didn’t hurt: it turned out to be a box-office monster, earning close to $200 million globally. Martin Lawrence quickly regained control.
Finally, Bad Boys Are Arrested
For some reason, Lawrence’s enormous personality always felt a little too…little for the small screen, and a return to film always seemed inevitable. Returning to his breakthrough role on the big screen as Marcus from Bad Boys looked to be the best choice for Lawrence to get his career back on track. After all, there has been a long demand for a third movie from viewers of the first two movies.
When writer/director Joe Carnahan joined the project, Bad Boys III—also known as Bad Boys For Life—got some good news after spending a long time in development limbo. A fourth movie was even in the works. But soon as things started to heat up, BBIII’s supporting components disintegrated. Will Smith’s availability became a significant issue, Carnahan quit the project, and the studio ultimately decided not to release the movie. Lawrence’s return to the big screen was effectively finished at that point.
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There Is Always a Chance to Turn Things Around.
Martin Lawrence doesn’t appear to be working on any projects at the time, although his kind of humour can still be amusing. If given a few contemporary improvements, of course, it might even be a welcome voice in the political climate of today.
Lawrence needs to make that happen as quickly as possible, we sincerely hope. However, it would seem prudent for the comedian to take a few baby steps back into the mainstream at this point. Why not a supporting part as the bad lad Marcus Burnett in that rumored Bad Boys television spinoff? That would undoubtedly attract viewers, and it might even revive Bad Boys III. So let’s hope.