Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II took the stage together during the 2023 Emmy Awards
It all started with a joke about an apparent miscommunication over whether the cast of Martin would be receiving an Emmy on Monday night — or just presenting one. Since the show last aired in the '90s, it wasn't eligible for an Emmy during the 2023 awards show. But the cast argued that it should have been.
Stars Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II took the stage together at Los Angeles's Peacock Theater, which was styled to look like the living room from the sitcom's set. There, while all glitzed up in their awards show best, the four debated why Martin never won big at (or was nominated at) for an Emmy show during its five-season run.
"We finally about to get our Emmy," Payne said. "We getting our Emmy tonight. Matter of fact I got my speech on deck to ready to go."
However, he was in for a rude awakening when Campbell informed that wasn't the case. "Carl, we're not winning an Emmy tonight. Please sit your butt down, please," she responded.
She later added, "Carl isn’t all the way wrong you guys. I mean, we should have won an Emmy during our run. We were never even nominated despite our 132 episodes, our huge ratings and being in syndicated so much that it's a little hard for me to see the '90s spanks-less version of myself every night, you know what I'm saying right, Tichina?"
Arnold quipped back, "No, I still look good."
Host Anthony Anderson stepped in to tell them the honest truth. "Hey, hold on. I want to thank you guys for your contribution to television. Thank you. But unlike me, or like me, for the last 11 times, you're not going to get an Emmy," he said.
This isn't the first time the stars of the beloved Fox sitcom, which aired from 1992 to 1997, have come together in recent years. The four previously reunited during the 2022 BET special, Martin: The Reunion.
"We captured the Black experience," said Lawrence, who played the titular character on the show which chronicled five best friends, on the special.
"It's pure testament to our hard work," Arnold shared while Payne added, "This show was, and still is, big for the culture."
Following the reunion, Lawrence opened up on The Tonight Show about seeing his former costars again 30 years after the show’s premiere.
“It felt great, man, just to see ‘em again and get back together,” he said, per BET. “It felt like we was going back to work.”
He added that the reunion was missing his “brother” Tommy Ford, who died in 2016 at the age of 52 from a surgery complication, and noted he wouldn’t move forward with a reboot without his friend.
“I think, well, you know, the Martin show was like catching lightning in a bottle and I don’t think we can redo that again,” he explained. “I wouldn’t mind working with the cast again on something but I don’t think we can do that again.”
In 2021, Campbell and Arnold echoed his sentiment that a reboot of the hit series isn't likely because it can't be brought back with the full cast. "It's something that we wanted to happen," Arnold said on Tamron Hall at the time.
She continued, "It's something that we tried very hard for it to happen, but the way it looks to me, realistically, it's not going to happen. Not unless it's an animation."
"Now, we may be able to have a rebirth," Arnold said and Campbell chimed in by adding, "Or a reunion."
Arnold reiterated that the cast likely won't do a reboot without Ford, sharing, “As far as a reboot, I don't think that's going to happen, Tommy is no longer with us." She added, "This show is never going to be the same, it's never and some things are best left alone."
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