Martin was an American television sitcom from 1992 to 1997 featuring Martin Lawrence and an ensemble cast, eventually becoming one of the highest-rated shows during its run. So who are the best and worst Martin characters? Join me as we rank them last to first for this top 15!
15. Sheneneh Jenkins
One of the many roles played by Martin Lawrence, Sheneneh is a typically boorish female character who lives across the hall from Martin.
Picking fights with Gina, she is a very feisty and belligerent character, while being touchy and antagonistic with her very confrontational style.
14. Dr. Cliff Waters
Carrying a chip on his shoulder due to his dislike of Martin, Cliff is quite overbearing throughout most of the series, finally exploding at the wedding rehearsal with threats to shoot other members of the family, precipitating a massive inter-family fight.
He otherwise interferes in Gina’s life, to the detriment of everybody.
13. Edna Payne
Another role played by Martin Lawrence, Edna is the mother to Martin who doesn’t budge on her protection of Martin, and the lack of makeup on Martin’s prominent mustache is a constant point of contention regarding Edna.
Extremely frenetic and easily excited, Edna tends to make most situations worse by her insistence on being a part of everything, mainy as a cover so that she can keep an eye on Martin at all times.
12. Nadine Waters
The mother of Gina has some weird sexual things going on, in particular her inability to deal with any kind of sexual subject that comes up in conversation.
She also is notable for getting very aroused from a brief pornographic scene and speaks volumes about her relationship with Cliff, her husband, and Gina’s father.
11. Bro Fo’ Real (Brother For Real)
Martin’s biggest fan and masterfully played by Charlie Murphy, Bro Fo’ Real has a central role in helping Martin achieve his dream. Playing the role of the superfan, Bro Fo’ Real attends all the talk show tapings that Martin is involved in while giving him feedback.
This feedback is seen to be central to the later success of Martin, as his nervousness and fake persona were tanking the show, but afterwards with the injection of Martin’s unique, authentic character, starts to do a lot better.
10. Shanise McGullicuddy
Cole’s girlfriend for most of the series is equally as slow as Cole (perhaps slower) but in that sense, they’re the perfect couple.
Offering even more comic relief, Shanise is a minor character but took on a larger role when real-life issues caused Gina to not feature as heavily near the end of the series.
Her positivity is contrasted with the bitter and jaded attitude some of the characters have, playing important roles in saving Pam from an insane asylum and even going through all the issues with Cole’s failed marriage proposal.
9. Ms. Geri
A senior who doesn’t take lip service from anyone, Martin’s decision to give her a tuna sandwich is viewed by Ms Geri as weakness, and her constant run-ins with Martin lead to fights over quarters on a bus station floor among many others.
Never willing to give an inch, Ms. Geri brings Martin back to Earth in many situations, keeping his ego in check when it has a tendency to run away from him.
8. Bruh-Man (Brother Man)
Martin’s upstairs neighbor, Bruh-Man is a constant fixture in Martin’s apartment.
Martin doesn’t particularly want him there, and Bruh-Man tends to enter via the fire escape. Over time, Martin becomes accustomed to this and the two become friendlier, however, Bruh-Man does push this friendship to the limit by constantly borrowing Martin’s things.
Not particularly bright, Bruh-Man doesn’t seem to have a job and is eventually phased out of the series when Gina and Martin get married. He didn’t help things by stealing Martin’s $400 stereo system.
His signature slow walk and inability to count to five are eternal, however.
7. Hustle Man
An iconic role played by the amazing Tracy Morgan, he’s always trying to sell products with great discounts that are only for his friends and certainly don’t apply to everyone.
He also offers to help out with wedding planning after Gina’s initial expensive choice, but otherwise generally is a comic relief character.
His worst scheme likely involved the presentation of charred pigeons impaled on a branch, which he tried to sell to several people, but didn’t get much traction.
6. Shawn McDermott
A small but important role, Shawn is a colleague of Martin at the radio station. His input into the show is very bizarre given that he is a bit out of the loop with reality, but most importantly he eventually is the impetus for Martin to pursue his dream job successfully.
Not appearing after season 2 due to an automation process at the radio station effectively replacing him with tape machines, Shawn’s legacy lives on in the form of Martin’s forever-increasing profile.
5. Pamela James
Played by Tichina Arnold, Pam is the ill-tempered co-worker of Gina’s and worst enemy to Martin. Their antagonistic relationship never slows down, with the two trading insults constantly, particularly about Martin’s height.
Without Pam, Martin would likely get much too out of control from an ego point of view, and become even more insufferable than he already is. She uses put-downs to put him in his place.
Pam doesn’t always get it her way, with her woes with men especially prominent. A brief romance with Tommy doesn’t lead anywhere ultimately, and from then on Cole tries to have a go as well, but Pam is much too smart to suffer Cole for any length of time.
4. Cole Brown
Although dimwitted, Cole’s role as a foil for Martin shines throughout the series. Not as successful as Martin, Cole is a key part of the strong friendship that Martin shares with a few characters in the show, being a vital cog in the Martin machine.
The two have been friends since childhood, but have definitely taken different paths. This is particularly the case for fashion sense, as Cole is constantly seen as having the worst hats and other headgear.
Often providing comic relief due to his fashion sense and taste in women, he eventually settles down with a seemingly dumber person than him, Shanise. However, this looks to be a good match compared to the other women he dates throughout the series.
A series of failures is topped off by his accidental taping over of Martin’s farewell tape with a random episode of Good Times. This is preceded by his misprinting of flyers for their failed restaurant endeavor, ultimately being the dumbest thing ever done by Cole per Martin.
3. Thomas Strawn
An almost inverse of Martin personality-wise, Tommy is smart and uses reason and logic, while at the same time not having as abrasive a personality.
He is successful in his job, although a running gag throughout the show is that no one actually knows what he does. His importance to the main cast goes further, as he is a voice of calm and level-headedness for Martin to try to prevent him from going off the deep end.
In a scene with Thomas’ father, Sgt. Strawn shows that the Strawns have some unresolved issues around women, compounded with the fact that many people don’t seem to know whether his name is Strawn or Strong.
Having appeared physically in every single episode, Strawn is a great character that provides the perfect supporting character for Martin.
2. Gina Waters-Payne
Martin’s girlfriend and later wife in the series, her main job is trying (unsuccessfully in most instances) to put out the fires created by Martin.
Her role at a public relations firm arguably doesn’t end when she clocks off, as she is constantly having to involve herself in Martin’s antics and their consequences to try and save relationships and provide a voice of reason.
Her friendship with Pam allows Martin to have someone to pick on and contrast with, an interesting dynamic that makes the show all the more hectic.
While the long-suffering Gina puts up with more than most other people, this is also a great insight into her personality and is the main reason for her ranking so highly.
1. Martin Payne
While seemingly an obvious choice seeing as he is the eponymous star, Martin is definitely the life of the party and the best character.
His constant ability to alienate even his best friends due to his selfishness and perpetual foot in mouth controversies but then still end up showing a strong loyalty and love towards his family and friends makes him endearing.
This role showed Martin’s comedic skills and acting chops and was the start of a long and successful movie career.