Martin Lawrence must really have something to talk about if he’s hitting the stand-up stage again. This is no hoax. The comedy legend brought his Doin’ Time tour to the Bridgestone Arena last Friday night. The last time he went on a stand-up tour was 2011, in which he made a pit stop in Music City at the time as well. Apparently, Nashvillians missed him. The turn out was enormous. The audience, as always, was live and energetic from the outset.
He arrived in typical, calm and laid back attire and style. At age 50, Lawrence is quieter and more reflective than his stage persona or the fictional characters he usually portrays. He speaks with the savvy of an entertainment veteran who enjoys what he does and knows he has fostered his fan base.
Over the years, Martin Lawrence has become a familiar presence on both the big and small screens. The multi-talented actor, comedian, producer and writer is returning to his performance roots. However, instead of playing an intimate comedy club, he’s headlining.
Lawrence, who is reported to be planning a reunion with Will Smith in Bad Boys III, has been quoted as saying: “I’m blessed to make people laugh. I don’t want to sit around playing golf all day. I will do it as long as the people continue to have me.” Lawrence came up through the comedy clubs of New York City and parlayed his success as a contestant on Star Search in 1987 to launch a successful acting career that saw him land roles in such films as Bad Boys, Boomerang and House Party.
Besides the physical element of doing 75 to 90 minutes of live comedy a night, there’s the prep work. Lawrence says he’s written a basic set of comedy bits for this tour and works around the rest. Though he’s been off stage for years at a time, he’s always been able to work out his comedic muscles through different kinds of ‘exercises.’ FX’s Partners with Kelsey Grammer, from 2014, was Lawrence’s last major project.
Controversy has been common for Lawrence. A ground breaking comic who parlayed his stint as host of Def Comedy Jam to starring in his sitcom, Martin, to high profile late-night TV appearances to blockbuster movies. In 1994, he made his one and only appearance on Saturday Night Live, which began innocently enough with Lawrence noticing the mostly White studio audience and saying, “I guess this ain’t the Def Jam.” He received a lifetime ban from the show by the conclusion of that performance. These days, Martin is definitely more reserved, but don’t get it twisted—he’s still a bad, bad boy.