10:27 pm - 08/03/2014

Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence team up in FX's sitcom 'Partners'

Martin Lawrence (left) and Kelsey Grammer in episode one of "Partners"

It’s the new odd couple.

Film star Martin Lawrence is teaming up with TV veteran Kelsey Grammer to play a pair of Chicago lawyers with polar-opposite personalities in the FX comedy “Partners,” debuting Monday at 9 p.m.

Grammer — most famous for his portrayal of Frasier Crane, first on the classic series “Cheers” and then on its long-running spinoff, “Frasier” — plays Allen Braddock, an unscrupulous, money-grubbing attorney so slimy that his own father fired him from the family practice.

Lawrence — best known for films like “House Party,” “Bad Boys,” “Big Momma’s House, and “A Thin Line Between Love & Hate,” along with his 1990s sitcom “Martin” — plays Marcus Jackson, a kind-hearted lawyer and community activist going through a gut-wrenching divorce.

They meet by chance in a courthouse bathroom and ultimately form their own tiny firm — surrounded, of course, by wacky staffers and wisecracking family members, played by Daniel Watts, Rory O’Malley, McKaley Miller, Edi Patterson and longtime sitcom star Telma Hopkins.

“Kelsey’s character is in it for the money. He’s about getting the money by any means necessary,” Lawrence says. “I play a morally grounded guy. I do pro bono cases, they cook for me and bring me food (instead of money), things like that. Our characters kind of teach each other. We try to find out what is the right way to be principled and correct, to do the right thing. And ultimately, it’s all for our clients.”

From left, Edi Patterson, Grammer and Lawrence

At first glance, it might seem like a bit of a sitcom formula, and technically it is. The difference is that with A-list talent like Lawrence and Grammer, formulas don’t really matter very much.

“If it’s smart comedy, if it’s understandable comedy, it resonates with people,” says Lawrence, adding that part of the show’s appeal is how different its stars — and their fans — are.

Grammer “has a certain brand of comedy and a certain way that he does comedy,” Lawrence says. “I would say he got the white audience and I got the black audience.”
He adds, “Our comedy is different because his caters more to his culture and my comedy caters more to my culture. But when you bring those two together you get something new, we get the opportunity to learn each other’s culture, learn what makes each of us laugh — we get to grow.”
Lawrence admits he wasn’t a regular “Frasier” viewer, but says he’d occasionally tune in to watch Grammer while he, Lawrence, was starring in Fox’s “Martin” — even though “Frasier,” as an NBC series, was the competition.


Grammer, says Lawrence, "has a certain brand of comedy and a certain way that he does comedy.
I would say he got the white audience and I got the black audience.”

“Every now and then I’d click over to see what they were doing there,” he says. “And he’d make me laugh. I always thought he was good, so when they asked me if I’d be interested in hooking up with him for a show, my first reaction was, ‘Wow, that’s different — maybe this could be a great pairing.’ ”

The two first met years ago at a party at “Home Improvement” star Tim Allen’s house, Lawrence said. “It was sort of in passing, I said, ‘Hello, I’m a fan.’ ”

Thanks to films like “House Party” and “Boomerang,” Lawrence was already a star in 1992 when he took the role of “Martin’s” title character, Martin Payne, a loudmouthed Detroit talk-show host.

When the show ended in 1997, he continued to make movies, but he says his friends and family always asked him when he was going do more television.

“For the longest time, my brothers and my sisters would ask me when I was going to come back to TV,” Lawrence says. “My answer was usually, ‘Never say never, but I love doing movies.’ ”

The sitcom's stars with Daniele Watts (standing) and Telma Hopkins

He was in talks with “Partners” producers at Lionsgate last year when they mentioned an opportunity to work with Grammer.

“It was kind of like an offer that I couldn’t refuse,” Lawrence says. “I figured movies will always be there for me, but comedy is something I do well. When I’m on and in the zone, I can do it with the best of them — I would love to have played opposite Lucille Ball.”

When it comes to unusual projects with big stars, FX has come up with its own formula. For Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management,” the network agreed to buy 10 episodes at first. If the series hit certain ratings markers, the deal would trigger 90 more, guaranteeing a total of at least 100 — a number that makes for big-bucks syndication deals.

That’s how “Partners” will work, too. If the show succeeds, it means a grueling few years of work and a cash windfall for the stars.

“Truthfully, I prefer making movies to TV because with movies, you work for two or three months and then you’re finished,” says Lawrence. “You walk away and you don’t come back until it’s time to promote it. TV is year-round. But I understand how to make television, I did it for five years, and so I’m not afraid of the grind, I’m not afraid of all the work that comes with it, because I know that I can do it.”

jigglemypuff 4th-Aug-2014 03:59 am (UTC)
Omg I love these two! Radom, but I'd watch the shit out of their show.
blacktinbox 4th-Aug-2014 04:03 am (UTC)
Here for Martin Lawrence. Martin is in my top 5 favorite shows ever. Probably the funniest show to ever be on TV tbh.
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 04:07 am (UTC)
It still baffles me how neither he nor Tashina Arnald has never been nominated for an Emmy. Tisha Campbell was hilarious in season 3 and 4 as well.
avenger_aborted 4th-Aug-2014 04:08 am (UTC)
not my momma biscuits gina
poetic_daze 4th-Aug-2014 04:16 am (UTC)
seriously. i recall on several occasions laughing until i was in physical pain at that show. so damn good
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 04:57 am (UTC)
I still laugh my ass off when ever I watch clips on Youtube. The Biggie episode with Gina and Pam fighting over who should sing for him? Absolutely murders my stomach.
laurie_springs 4th-Aug-2014 07:32 am (UTC)

+ when Gina was working on a big project and the guys were stealing cable to watch a fight and Cole ended up wiping out her entire computer and she went batshit. Actually, all Gina going batshit moments.
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 02:56 pm (UTC)
Her head getting stuck on that bed thingy. lmao. Tisha killed me. She was also hilarious on my wife and kids and All of us as her husbands sister.
lipstiq 4th-Aug-2014 04:22 am (UTC)
trackguy25 4th-Aug-2014 04:30 am (UTC)
"That ain't no damn puppy."

That will never not be hilarious to me.
blacktinbox 4th-Aug-2014 04:46 am (UTC)
blue_birds 4th-Aug-2014 04:49 am (UTC)
one of my favorite eps
setsuna16 4th-Aug-2014 04:50 am (UTC)
You know... I recently rewatched 'you killed my mama bird, Gina.'

And it really was nowhere as funny as I recall it from my youth.
pinkfunraven 4th-Aug-2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Where are the lies though?
Martin was so damn funny I'd love to see a reunion special! It's sad we don't have anything on right now like it.
laurie_springs 4th-Aug-2014 07:31 am (UTC)
I just saw the ep where Martin thinks one of the gang took his cd player. I died.
lidahbidah 4th-Aug-2014 01:13 pm (UTC)
Fool had a fake dog. One of the funniest episodes EVER. LOL
lidahbidah 4th-Aug-2014 01:12 pm (UTC)
My favorite comedy show ever.

I still gets tears from laughing so hard.
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 04:06 am (UTC)
Martin Payne and Frasier? kdjkdfjfdkdfjkdfjk
draperyfalls 4th-Aug-2014 04:07 am (UTC)
This looks god-awful. I can't even watch the promos.
What is it doing on FX? It seems made for TBS.
procedurals 4th-Aug-2014 04:47 am (UTC)
FX seems to go pretty hard for bro-appeal comedies, and that could be the show's direction. shame if it is limited to that, since i kind of like the concept (but i do love lawyer shows)
la_petite_singe 4th-Aug-2014 04:07 am (UTC)
Aren't they both kind of...terrible, though? Generally? From what I can recall of their personal lives/behind-the-scenes shit I'm kinda stunned they're not both on ONTD's Ever-Growing Shit List.
crucified 4th-Aug-2014 04:08 am (UTC)
Kelsey is an asshole irl for the most part, but I can't fully hate him because I love Frasier Crane so much tbh.
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 04:09 am (UTC)
And he created Girlfriends and The Game.
hypermuseic9 4th-Aug-2014 05:11 am (UTC)
omg i didn't know that. that's so random.
nyse 4th-Aug-2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
Close. He was an executive prod. Mara Brock Akil is the creator of both shows.
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
Oop you're right. I even thought of it before or I typed. Lol
poetic_daze 4th-Aug-2014 04:17 am (UTC)
hes an ultra conservative and racist prick... the irony of him making so much $$ off of blackfolk
cheekymonkeyboo 4th-Aug-2014 10:32 am (UTC)
those seem to go hand in hand alot tho lol
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 04:09 am (UTC)
Martin had a serious drug problem at the end of Martin. I think he even attacked his co-star.
la_petite_singe 4th-Aug-2014 04:10 am (UTC)
I just remember hearing that she refused to appear in any scenes with him towards the end of the show or something extreme like that.
mjgchick 4th-Aug-2014 04:13 am (UTC)
Yep. They had those side way phone call scenes. Their were episodes when both were not as present as they were prior to the last season.
juunanagou18 4th-Aug-2014 04:15 am (UTC)
He sexually harassed Tisha Campbell (Gina), which is why she refused to do any scenes with him towards the end of the show.
blacktinbox 4th-Aug-2014 04:18 am (UTC)
Yeah. I think I remember reading that the problems started when Tisha married Duane and there was so much drama between them two and Martin.
blue_birds 4th-Aug-2014 04:51 am (UTC)
He was harassing her and she wasn't having it which is why Gina is missing from some eps in the last season.
laurie_springs 4th-Aug-2014 07:33 am (UTC)
Kelsey gave up Girlfriends and, inadvertently, "YOU'RE SUCH A FUCKING LIAR, CAMILLE" so that and his tragedy filled life are probably why he's not.

Edited at 2014-08-04 07:33 am (UTC)
halfdressedliar 4th-Aug-2014 04:21 am (UTC)
I was here for it until this promo came on one day

theupperdrive 4th-Aug-2014 04:28 am (UTC)
I wish Boss was still on, tbh
asuka4eva 4th-Aug-2014 04:33 am (UTC)
Martin Lawrence (left)

Who doesn't know who ML is? Or KG?
procedurals 4th-Aug-2014 04:44 am (UTC)
this show could be amazing or godawful. but i'm interested

"I would love to have played opposite Lucille Ball." - i love martin for saying this!
setsuna16 4th-Aug-2014 04:49 am (UTC)
Martin Lawrence... morally grounded?

Tisha Campbell is cackling somewhere.
blue_birds 4th-Aug-2014 04:55 am (UTC)
This looks like utter shit.

Neither of them will be able to live up to Martin or Fraiser.
artemisbones94 4th-Aug-2014 04:57 am (UTC)
fx really needs to stop with these 10/90 shows. Plus i s2g you could smell the 'phoning it in' from the promos, easy.
prophecypro 4th-Aug-2014 05:06 am (UTC)
I love both of them even though their best days are behind them, so yeah I'll give it a shot and watch
lovedhurtlost 4th-Aug-2014 05:09 am (UTC)
Martin, Eddie, Chris Tucker... It's a shame how unfunny they are now. Smh
kathrynfan 4th-Aug-2014 07:06 am (UTC)
cant stand Kelsey after all that bullshit came out when he split with Camille, and he only wanted custody of there son
soul_amazinn 4th-Aug-2014 01:07 pm (UTC)
did they cancel kelsey grammer's other show that was on starz
chocobeans 4th-Aug-2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah. People were surprised because it was doing well and I think it was nominated for something.
lidahbidah 4th-Aug-2014 01:13 pm (UTC)
Marty Mar is looking the best he has in years.
This page was loaded Dec 25th 2014, 11:43 am GMT.