Comedian Martin Lawrence’s use of coarse material while guest-hosting “Saturday Night Live” has caused NBC to cancel a scheduled appearance by the comic on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
An NBC spokeswoman confirmed the decision, saying that after the “SNL” flap, network officials “feel it’s inappropriate for him to be on any of our shows.”
Lawrence — whose Miramax-released concert movie “You So Crazy” received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America — was scheduled to ap-pear on the NBC latenight series March 9.
NBC, West Coast prexy Don Ohlmeyer on Friday issued the mandate to drop Lawrence, relaying the decision to “Tonight” producers Debbie Vickers and Bill Royce as well as host Jay Leno, who, citing free speech concerns, reluctantly agreed. “The Tonight Show” is produced by NBC Prods.
A day earlier, Ohlmeyer sent a letter of apology to affiliates regarding the “SNL” episode, promising that the program “will not be repeated on the NBC network, even in an edited form.”
The note went on to say that the network is “exploring alternatives for safeguarding against ad-libbed comments without taking away from the ‘live’ nature of the show.” Ohlmeyer didn’t elaborate, but “SNL” has aired on a seven-second delay to provide the option of eliminating material before it reaches viewers.
NBC received nearly 200 phone calls about Lawrence’s opening monologue when he hosted “SNL” Feb. 19. His routine included comments about oral sex, yeast infections and the John Wayne Bobbitt case that were heard in Eastern and Central time zones but bleeped out during later West Coast feeds.
Also, sources say at least two small-market NBC affiliates threatened to stop carrying the long-running latenight series.
A publicist for Lawrence said she was unaware of any plans to cancel his “Tonight” date.