Martin Lawrence returns to his stand-up comedy roots with the concert film, "Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat."
The Early Show Contributor Laurie Hibberd sat down with the film star whose fans have waited nearly eight years for him to return to the stage.
The film, Lawrence says, is more than just another night of stand-up. It's his opportunity to talk directly to his fans about the trials and tribulations of a life that Lawrence feels have been unfairly reported.
Lawrence's life had its share of tumultuous times in 1999. He spent three days in a coma after reportedly suffering from heat exhaustion. He was arrested in 1996 when he was discovered in one of Los Angeles (Calif.) most congested streets hurling obscenities at cars.
"[The film] was therapeutic for me. It gave me the opportunity to just release all those things that were just seem to be plaguing me," said Lawrence.
While many of his peers have churned out cable-ready comedy, Lawrence felt his performance was too big for the small screen.
"This is not stand-up for cable. This is for the concert arena. You know Richard Pryor went through one of trying times with the fire and everything and came back with "Live From The Sunset Strip" and this is right there with that," said Lawrence.
The show was taped last fall in Washington, D.C., in front of a predominantly African-American audience but Lawrence is quick to say that this is a movie for a generally mature crowd.
The concert does not dwell on Lawrence's past. There is plenty of the face-contorting comedy that helped define his humor on stage.
"I want to make you laugh and it ain't about just looking good, it's just about going there," explained Lawrence. "So I have no problem with the face and no problem with the ears sticking out. Well, they're going to stick out anyway. But I have no problem with any of that. I just love to make people laugh."
Making people laugh through body expression is something Lawrence learned early in his career when he performed in front of an audience at Gallaudet University, aschool where a majority of students are hearing impaired.
FAST FACTS ABOUT MARTIN LAWRENCE
- Born Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence in Frankfurt, Germany, on April 16, 1965.
- Lawrence began his career performing in clubs in Washington, D.C.
- The comedian enjoyed his first TV exposure in 1985 in a guest spot on the ill-fated "What's Happening Now."
- In 1989, Lawrence landed a small part in Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing."
- Lawrence was featured in his own half-hour comedy special for HBO in 1989.
- The budding movie actor played the D.J. Bilal, in the Hudlin brothers' sleeper hit "House Party" (1990), and one of Eddie Murphy's two confidants in the Hudlins' "Boomerang" (1992). He has also hosted HBO's "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam" and landed his own Fox comedy series, "Martin" (1992-1997).
- Lawrence's first concert movie, "You So Crazy," was released in 1994.
- The actor/comedian turned to directing in the movie "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate" in 1996, which he also wrote and co-starred in.