He Played Cole on "Martin." See Carl Anthony Payne II Now at 53.


In the 1980s and '90s, Carl Anthony Payne II had roles on two of the biggest sitcoms on television. During the early seasons of The Cosby Show, he played Walter "Cockroach" Bradley, the best friend of Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner). Then, from 1992 to 1997, he played Cole on Martin, one of the five main characters. Recently, Payne got back together with his Martin co-stars for a reunion special, celebrating the show's 30th anniversary and honoring late star Thomas Mikal Ford.

But, while Payne is best known for those two series, he's had a very successful acting career in the years since and is still appearing on screen today. He's working in entertainment in a couple of other ways, too. Read on to find out more about Payne's life today.

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He's still acting.
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Over the years, Payne has had recurring roles on TV shows including George Lopez, The Game, For Richer or Poorer, and Step Up: High Water. Currently, he stars on the Nickelodeon series Tyler Perry's Young Dylan as Dylan's uncle, who he is sent to live with.

He's also a standup comedian.
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In addition to acting on TV, Payne also entertains audiences with his standup comedy. The 53-year-old tours around the country and updates fans about his latest stops on his Instagram.

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He's moved into directing.
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Payne has stepped behind the camera, as well. He directed a 2017 film titled Misguided Behavior, and he's also directed a couple episodes of Young Dylan.

"I've been directing for a minute now, so it was just a natural progression," he told Kolor Magazine in July 2022. "It was a natural transition. I love it as a matter of fact, and I look forward to doing more of it." The actor also shared that he directed a second feature, Strange Love, that has not yet been released.

He's proud of the legacy of Martin.
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When the cast of Martin reunited for a special for BET+ in June, Payne understood how important it was to get it right.

"The show was so iconic and had such an impact on the culture and people in general," he told Kolor. "It's like you couldn't just throw something together. This reunion special was going to be our farewell, in a sense, so we had to do something that was going to be long-lasting, like the show."

It's also not lost on Payne that the show was one-of-a-kind.

"What we did had never been done to the level that we did it," he told Page Six in July 2022. "An all-Black cast combining a sitcom with elements of sketch, no one was doing that, we were tapped in." He continued, "It was really like an amazing NBA team, the Lakers or the Chicago Bulls back then, everybody played their position, so everybody got the rock and everybody scored."

He's a father.
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As for his personal life, Payne has been married to his wife, Melika Payne, since 1992, and they have four sons. The actor doesn't post about his family on Instagram often, but in 2019, he shared a photo of himself and Melika and captioned it, "To my beautiful wife, THE mother of our 4 amazing sons ..you have held me down for over 25 years. Thanks for EVERYTHING. Love u to the moon and back."

That same year, he posted about one of his son's birthdays. "HAPPY BORN DAY TO 1 OF MY 4 MINI ME's MALEK," he wrote. "I knew he was going to be handful from early on. They say God never gives you more than you can handle……weellllllll……. definitely testing that theory only lets me know I have a Gem that's going to continue shining. Love you with all my heart."