Tisha Campbell Martin Talks About Her New Show “Outmatched,” And Single Mom Evolution
Tisha Campbell Martin has LONG been a favorite in the BOSSIP offices, not just for her outstanding roles in “Martin,” “My Wife And Kids” and “School Daze” but also for the strength and perseverance she’s shown after withstanding numerous challenges throughout her life. BOSSIP’s Senior Content Director chatted it up with Tisha, whose newest show “Outmatched,” airs tonight on FOX at 8:30 pm.
Check out their interview when you continue…
Janeé Bolden: It seems like you’re EVERYWHERE these days. Congratulations!
Tisha Campbell Martin: Listen girl, I’m a single mother now. I got to get my hustle – HARD – okay?
JB: We posted your photos from the FOX TCA’s, you looked amazing.
TCM: Thank you, it as so fun. I love those kind of things, especially when you get in front of the critics and stuff. But I got a chance to go off to the side and have some personal conversations with a few of them and they were SO funny. They were giving me some insight on what not to say ever at a TCA. The stuff they hear every single time. Somebody comes onstage like, ‘We’re like a family!’ They were like ‘Don’t say that! Everybody says it!” We were laughing so hard.
JB: If you’re not ‘like a family,’ what would you say about your “Outmatched” castmates?
TCM: Oh that we have fun on the set. That’s it. This is what I actually told them. I said, ‘Look, we’ve all been in the business for so long. From Jason Biggs to Maggie Lawson to Finesse Mitchell who just joined the cast and is now playing my TV husband. We’ve been doing this for so long that everybody on the set gets it. This is a job and it’s probably going to last eight years, if you’re lucky. Everybody laughed at that. Maggie said right on the first day of work as we were about to go out on the set and tape in front of the audience, ‘Guys remember this moment.’ Everyone was excited and there are so many times there are times when people are blessed to get a job and they forget and they lose it. They lose the passion for it. And when she said that I was like, ‘Yes! You DO get it.’ We all want our kids to go to college. This is why we’re here. This is just a job. We’re serving other people. We’ve been in this business long enough to know that there are highs and lows and it can be snatched from you at any moment and not to take yourself too seriously. That’s what I told the critics. We’re here for a short amount of time and we’re hoping that we can make people laugh and that’s it. And that’s the truth. When you walk into a new job you immediately start scanning the room to see who is going to nut up by the third season and mess it up for everybody. They laughed about that too, that was my other joke.
JB: You’re a veteran comedienne. What is special about this show, in terms of the comedy?
TCM: For me I’m more of a support system for them, this time around. I get to step in and do my part, step out and still be a mother to my children, to have a life outside of my work. So many times you do single camera and you’re working 14-16 hour days. With a sitcom, especially because I don’t have the pressure that Jason and Maggie have, I can play the support system and still have a life outside of that and do other things at the same time.
JB: What part of motherhood did you bring to the role? I know the show is about a family with three genius kids and one that’s a little different.
TCM: She’s a genius in a different way. She got common sense. A lot of people don’t have that. There’s three kids that are geniuses, and one that is a typical kid where like they learn stuff from the baby too. The baby is the one that doesn’t have a genius IQ. I understand and of course I’m going to bring my own motherhood things to it because I actually do have geniuses in my household. I have a son who is a straight A student, I have a son who wants to be a zoologist when he grows up, I have a son who can’t open the door. He’s smart as hell but he cannot open the door and I got video! [Laughs] I understand both sides and I told Xen I was going to tell people and he was like, ‘[sighs] Fine,’ cuz he knows it’s funny. I told him, ‘Boy you better let Mommy have this joke, but I haven’t posted you yet so be happy.’ My character doesn’t have genius kids, so I bring my own sensibility to it and it’s just fun to play and easy. It’s really easy to play.
JB: You and Martin recently made headlines for being in a great place.
TCM: We’ve been in a great place for awhile. We didn’t even think about it being public it was just something that we were so glad that happened. Who gets a chance to reconnect and reconcile? It’s a blessing. Whether it’s public or it isn’t, we didn’t really put attention to that. We’ve moved on and we’re glad we are in a great place.
JB: I know you probably get questions about doing a reboot.
TCM: We would love to be able to work together again, all of us. But it’s one of those things where our schedules are all over the place. Everybody is busy so to try to figure out how that would work out is the only thing that is stopping us.
JB: It’s a little old now, but what was it like co-hosting “Soul Train Awards” with Tichina Arnold?
TCM: First of all it will never be old when it’s with my sister. Because we’ve known each other since we were pre-teens it was so much fun because we were co-producers we had our hands in everything, from the choreography to to the concepts of the opening to all of the jokes. Even trying to push for certain people to be there. I really wanted K. Michelle to perform. In the background, she probably doesn’t even know this but I was like, ‘I want K. Michelle.’ I love her new song. We were proudly a part of every aspect of it. It was great.
JB: You’ve been doing these YouTube episodes, “Do It Ya Damn Self” – where did you get the idea for that?
TCM: In the beginning, it was being a single mother, because now I gotta do every single thing my damn self. Normally I would call somebody to help me but I fixed my garbage disposal. I looked on YouTube and just tried to figure it out and I fixed it. And it went from there to everything to learning how to tie a tie because my kids were never taught to tie a tie. So now I’m learning how to tie a tie with my friend who is teaching me so I can teach my kids. I love working with my hands. I’m a very artistic person. If it’s woodwork — I built a she-shed in the backyard. I built a bar for my friend out of the footboard from his bed that he was going to sell and I was like, ‘Nah let me use that.’ Using and recycling. My mother used to love garage sales, swap meets and would pull over to the side of the road when we saw furniture and take it to our house and I still do it. I won’t pull over to the side but I’ll go to a garage sale, estate sale, antique sale, swap meets… I absolutely love refurbishing and upcycling old items. It’s a passion for me. It’s always been something that’s inside of me. I never had the opportunity because I’ve been working for other people since I was five years old and I was conscious that my mom and dad needed help or my brothers would have to do without. I started working to help my family and that continued into my teens and adulthood and for the first time in my life I’m concentrating on me and the things that I love. Painting or working with wood or repurposing things. It’s something I’m really passionate about. I want to be an example for women who have to start over. You can’t always call somebody. You can’t always fix it with money that you may or may not have. The greatest thing about how we live now is that YouTube can tell you how to fix just about anything.
I also have my village. I have a couple male friends who come over, like Dondre Whitfield. Dondre is writing a book about being male versus being a man. He sat down and had a session with my children. I’m reaching out to Salli and Dondre Whitfield. They’re so open and willing. Those are the people who just touch my soul. I had my other friend, Mainie and her fiance Logan, Logan taught my boy how to tie a bowtie. It’s these kind of things. I got my brother that’s paying for all of my son’s driving lessons. None of these people have to do that but they do it because we’re a team, we’re a village. They’re teaching me at the same time.
JB: You’ve done an amazing job of being more transparent. I was touched by your “Uncensored” special.
TCM: That’s a good word for it. That was a hard one. I had a small group of people come over to watch with me and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I didn’t know how they cut it. I was so uncomfortable with everybody [laughs] and myself because it was so raw. I was sitting next to my brother when we watched it and there were things that I’d never told anybody in my whole life. To feel his eyeballs on me, it made me, start talking fast during commercials. And everybody was like, ‘Wait a minute, sit down this is important.’ I started apologizing and they said, ‘Don’t be sorry, you’re telling your truth.’ I felt naked for a good week because people were coming up to me and talking about it. I felt naked and raw and transparent as I’ve never felt in my life. This is the time that people felt like they knew me but they knew characters that I played. At this point it’s so important for me to be as open as possible and get to know me, because I’m learning me at the same time.
JB: I didn’t want to get too serious on you but I wanted you to know that you’re appreciated for sharing.
TCM: It’s fine. There is a fun part and that’s me getting out there to tell people about “Outmatched,” and it’s a fun show and it’s funny and uplifting and we need sitcom because people need to laugh but there is the other side of me that people are getting to see and that’s why it was simple for me to say, “me and Martin have talked and we’re good.” He reached out to me. That’s my boy. ‘Bad Boys For Life’ I love that movie. He killed it. Low key we always supported each other even though people didn’t know that we did. We love each other and each other’s families and have mutual respect for each other. I’m glad that people know that. It’s okay for me at this point of my life to be transparent so for you to talk about other sides and all aspects, from motherhood, to my work, to my friendship. That’s cool to me.
JB: Anything else your fans should be on the lookout for?
TCM: I’m also on “Last Man Standing”. I do a guest spot so I’m on at 8pm Thursday and 8:30. I’m also writing music for all of the FOX shows. We placed like six shows already. I got a chance to meet Kim Cattrell. Me and my writing partner, Dani Wright who is also my artist, she started pushing me. Every art form gives me a different high. She’s also a producer and engineer. She was like, ‘We should reach out to different shows and movies to do music.’ I love to work, so it’s just another aspect. We might have a placement during the SuperBowl, but I’m just grateful for the opportunity to work with Mamie Coleman who is over music at FOX. WE’ve been able to work together. I met Mamie when she was a PA at the “Martin” show and now she’s an executive over music at FOX. African-American woman, super dope. I started writing songs for “Empire,” I wrote about three or four songs that got placed there while I was doing the show, then she heard about it and I started writing for all their new shows, “Almost Family,” Kim Cattrall’s new show, it’s been great. It’s been an honor to work with FOX again. FOX is where Martin originally aired.
JB: You mentioned meeting Kim Cattrall. How was that?
TCM: Oh it was amazing. I see her, she sees me and she goes, “Hiiiii.” To know that she knows my work, and I know hers. Her new show is amazing. It was really nice. She’s such a nice woman so I was glad to be able to see her. I was also glad to meet Bellamy Young, from “Scandal”. We got a chance to talk for a very long time. I love her too. These are women I would love to work with some day.
Make sure to tune into FOX tonight to watch Tisha on “Last Man Standing” and “Outmatched”