Martin Lawrence has been accused of stealing his famed “Martin” character Sheneneh from a former comedian. Comedian and actor Bill Bellamy revealed the allegations on his podcast “Top Billin’ with Bill Bellamy” on an episode featuring comedian Aries Spears. Watch clips from the interview and read more details inside.
On Wednesday (June 7), the comedy pair spoke about their careers and longevity in the industry. They also revealed several behind the scenes stories on various projects they worked on, including this story about Lawrence stealing from a former comedian named Derrick Fox.
The idea of comedy theft is not new as many veteran comedians often “borrow” from younger, aspiring comedians. This situation is a bit different as this former comedian was quite popular in the New Jersey community and beyond.
“Everybody in Jersey knew that when Derrick Fox did Chaunté, it was going to be pandemonium,” Bellamy said on the episode.
Bellamy goes on to say that Lawrence visited Jersey for a comedy show at Terminal D. Fox performed on the same lineup and brought out his well-known character Chaunté. Bellamy begins to insinuate that Martin’s famed character Sheneneh from his hit breakout show “Martin” is inspired by Fox’s impression. Bellamy adds that Fox stopped doing comedy shortly after Sheneneh’s debut on the show.
“Martin took a whole other level,” Bellamy said to Spears. “Derrick couldn’t go back and do it anymore.”
The two talk about how it would have been a challenge for Fox to return to the stage with Chaunté without people accusing him of comedy robbery.
“Yeah, everybody gone say he doing Sheneneh,” Spears added. “When in reality he was doing Chaunté.”
In a recent interview that Comedy Hype found, Fox speaks on how Martin received Chaunté and his initial offerings to work with him on “Martin.”
“Chaunté was a character that Martin was very impressed with,” Fox shares. “He also talked to me about writing for his show that was going to be on Fox called ‘Martin.’ He was saying he wanted me to do Chauné on the show.”
Fox goes on share why that never came to fruition.
“At some point, before we could do negotiations, he decided to do the character himself.,” Fox added. “I don’t fault him for that. Of course it was a little devasting to me back then.”
The former comedian turned car salesman, loving husband and father said that what may appear to be a missed opportunity was a blessing in disguise.
“But I can honestly say I see the blessing in it because I didn’t end up getting typecast which I probably would have if I was featured doing that character on the ‘Martin’ show,” Fox concluded.
Bellamy ended the recent episode of his podcast, inviting Lawrence on the show to clarify things.
Also noting, “The jersey cats, we grew up, we felt that came from Derrick Fox,” Bellamy.
Watch more about this conversation on this video shared by Comedy Hype below:
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