Tyler Perry on Bringing Madea Back to 'Make People Laugh' Again (Exclusive)

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Mabel "Madea" Earlene Simmons is back, but don't call it a second act. According to Tyler Perry, the mind and face behind the grits-slinging, gun-toting, foul-mouthed grandmother, this is more like Madea's "fourth quarter of her 29th inning." 

Folks might remember that Perry "officially" hung up the iconic character's gray wig and colorful housecoats after the 2019 film Tyler Perry'sA Madea Family Funeral. The 52-year-old media mogul has portrayed Madea in every appearance and said he wouldn't be putting the suit on again after the film. During an appearance back in October 2018 on Bevy Smith's SiriusXM radio show, Bevelations, he explained, "I just don't want to be her age, playing her."

But a pandemic and social reckoning sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement inspired the actor to bring the muumuus and gray wig out of retirement. Thus, A Madea Homecoming was born. The actor announced he was bringing back his beloved Madea character for Netflix in June, saying, "We need to laugh, man, too much is going on in the country. We need to laugh, so, I was done, but she's coming back. Madea on Netflix. I can't wait." 

The film, the 12th installment of the franchise, is an adaptation of Perry's stage play Madea's Farewell Play and the first Madea film to be adapted from a stage play since A Madea Christmas. The story follows Madea as she tries to plan a celebratory dinner for her great-grandson's graduation, but family secrets threaten to ruin the event.

"Everything we have been through during the last few years I thought, you know, 'I just really want to laugh. What do I have that can make people laugh?' And it is totally Madea," he tells ET. 

"It's really like a homecoming for us because there's so much joy, and we really do like each other," he adds about his A Madea Homecoming family. "In a lot of movies, a lot of people lie and talk about, 'Oh, I had a great time with this cast!' A lot of those folks are lying, they couldn't stand them, they just don't like who they work with. That's never been the case, man. Every time I talk about the people that I work with, I really like working with these people and they like working with me -- I think."

Perry gushes about the "great team" he's created over the years of building his media empire, which includes well-known films outside of Madea's films. "My people hold me up, and what's so great about having this team is that I have built them over the years, you know, finding the right ones, getting the right people to sign and to watch them," he says. "I level up every time so that I could be this creative. It's a blessing, man. I got the right people."

And creative he has been! Ahead of A Madea Homecoming's premiere on Netflix, Perry has been releasing promotional images that highlight the titular character in... interesting new ways.

The first pair of images parodied Adele's album, 30, and her interview with Oprah Winfrey, with Madea in the British singer's place.

"After many years Ma-delle releases her new album, 90. Tune in for a very special interview with @Oprah where she talks about her divorce and the new album," Perry captioned the Twitter post. "She will even perform her new single, Go Hard On Me, and her oldie but goodie, Hellur. NETFLIX!!"

The mogul then spoofed Beyoncé's Homecoming documentary poster, The Crown's iconic poster featuring Queen Elizabeth, Bridgerton's season 1 poster, and most recently, Mary J. Blige's look from the Super Bowl LVI halftime show

"MADEA J BLIGE I rocked the Super Bowl! Thank you to all my 10’s of fans. I was performing in the parking lot cause I think they was jealous. I had this out fit first and they made Mary’s with the little fabric they had left," Perry wrote. "She think she the only queen of hip hop soul, but I showed them. God mad a way. I rocked it! I mean. I rocked the car I was standing on but you get the picture. These pictures are from me performing my song about someone I miss. It's called No More Obama."

Going by those photos, it's safe to say Perry and Madea are indeed back to their usual antics. 

A Madea Homecoming premieres on Netflix Feb. 25. 

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