Owner of the gang’s favorite hangout, Nipsey was known to bust the occasional move. He had a total of maybe 16 lines for the show’s entire run.
What he lacked in melanin, he made up for in swag — he didn’t show up often, but when he did he, kept it all the way real. And his name was “Buckwhite.” What’s not to love about that?
24. Ms. Trinidad
She was only in one episode, but it was one of the most memorable, featuring the beautiful Beverly Johnson at her seductive best. We also got to see Gina pay homage to the time-honored tradition of putting on Vaseline before engaging in fisticuffs when she was about to fight for her man.
Loud and to the point, Myra was everyone’s country auntie. You’d have to be a special piece of work to keep up with Stan, her swindling, slick-talking significant other.
22. King Beef
Star of the sleazy show Cole used to watch. Ranked so high for that killer lateral pelvic thrust. Go King Beef! Go King Beef!
21. Ruby, Martin’s Mama’s Bird
During her short but significant life, Ruby taunted Gina to the brink of insanity and gave Martin cause to deliver the famous line, “You killed my mama bird!”
20. Little Dog
One of the barbers at Martin’s shop. Had a luxurious fade-mullet-weave thing going on, which guaranteed him a spot in the top 20.
19. Big Shirley
Cole’s larger-than-life, on-again, off-again girlfriend, Big Shirley knew the redemptive properties of a meal and a nap. This episode was one of the only times we got to hear her speak.
18. Martin’s Stuffed Rottweiler
You know how awesome you have to be to be an inanimate object but and still steal the spotlight? Definitely top 10 material. Fun fact: This episode was written by John Ridley, who recently won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave!
17. Puppy Monster Thing
Starring in one of, if not THE best episode of Martin ever, the puppy monster thing got everyone to put aside their differences and join forces to deliver a tropical beatdown. “That ain’t no damn puppy!”
16. Varnell Hill
Featuring Tommy Davidson in some of his greatest non-In Living Color-related work, talk show host Varnell Hill’s theme songs alone secured his place in Martin history. The Varnell man can, sha-boing-boooing!
Before Nick Cannon and the Wayans Brothers, Martin Lawrence donned whiteface as Gina’s super-bro-y co-worker who always seemed to magically appear at parties, extra hype. He gets top 15 because who doesn’t like somebody who is always ready to turn up?
14. Angry Man
He was scarcely seen and this was his only line, but he spoke to all of our souls, saying what we’d like to say to everyone who needs to get out of our faces. Forever relevant.
One of the most lovable, snot-nosed, slick-mouthed, gambling elementary school kids in TV history. He isn’t ranked higher because he was always mouthing off and never in school and that kind of poor parenting should not be too highly celebrated.
12. Almond Brown Guy
He only appeared in a couple of episodes, but this appearance solidified his place in black television history. This line gets tweeted, like, 100 times a day.
11. Ms. Geri
Ms. Geri was always there to put Martin in his place through the show’s entire run. When she wasn’t throwing hands at Martin, she was in church or getting her freak on with Ol’ Otis.
One of the most underrated characters in the Martin universe, Sheneneh’s friend’s ability to be impossibly loud was truly amazing. We only saw her a handful of times, but she killed it every time she stepped on the screen.
9. Mrs. Payne
Martin’s overbearing, overdramatic mother. An episode featuring her most always led to an unforgettable episode. Remember that time Mama Payne went insane in church? Classic.
Elroy the mechanic had this song stuck in his head for 15 years, and it’s been in our heads ever since. At the end of the episode, Pam and Gina joined him in an unforgettable choreographed performance.
7. Dragonfly Jones
Dragonfly Jones was the best worst martial arts instructor ever, often moving the cast to break character and crack up laughing (keep your eye on Cole in this scene). What he lacked in actual fighting skill, he made up for with a lack of teeth.
Otis, the old ass-whoppin’ security guard. With Coke-bottle glasses, a potbelly, and a grade-A yuckmouth, you wouldn’t think Mr. Otis could keep the young whippersnappers in line like he did, but he sho’ nuff did.
Hustleman represents that guy everybody knows: the one who is always talking about “grinding,” is constantly looking for a way to earn a dollar, and has horrible ideas on how to do so. He was a wedding planner, a pizza delivery man, a flower salesman, and a saxophone player, among other things. Arguably Tracy Morgan’s greatest work, ever.
4. Bruhman From the Fifth Flo’
Bruhman lived upstairs on the fifth floor of Martin’s apartment — or maybe it was the fourth floor, since he always held up four fingers when telling Martin where he lived. He spoke slow and moved even more slowly, preferring to come and go through the window rather than the first floor. Bruhman didn’t appear on the show beyond the third season (with the exception of a couple of episodes), but he made a lasting impression with that slow bop he walked with.
Jerome was the original playa — from the Himalayaaaaas. An old mack from waaaaay back. Jerome, like his wardrobe, was stuck in the ’70s, often speaking in rhyme and asking strangers about his money. But he was lovable (occasionally), passionate, and had some really great lines.
2. Rev. Leon Lonnie Love
Putting him all the way up at No. 2 may be a controversial move, but that church entrance alone secures it. David Allan Grier shone with a couple of appearances as Pam’s sleazy, sanctified cousin. With a couple more appearances under his belt, he very well could have made No. 1.
1. Sheneneh Jenkins
Of course Sheneneh is No. 1. Loud, unapologetic, independent, and fabulous, Martin’s entrepreneurial neighbor had a big mouth and a big personality to match. Sheneneh’s catchphrase, “Oh no you didn’t!” became a staple of black ’90s lexicon.
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