William Lee Martin won't admit it, but he is a maverick. The humble Texas comedian is releasing two brand new one-hour specials this year, “Standing in the Middle” (released Nov. 5, 2019) and “The Nutcracker – A Christmas Standup Spectacular” (release date Dec. 10, 2019). Both are ‘video on demand’ with Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google, YouTube TV, X-Box, Dish, Sling and in audio form on Sirius XM, Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify through the Comedy Dynamics Network. They are the follow-ups to his smash hit on CMT, “Let the Laughter Roll”.
In “Standing” he talks about life, being married, raising his five kids, and surviving a blue-collar, middle-class America that is always changing. The special “The Nutcracker” is unique in the fact that no standup comedians have ever dedicated an hour of material exclusively for the holiday season and it is a laugh riot.
If that wasn’t enough, he also launched a podcast for broadcast for The Country Network on Nov. 1 called “A Standup Dad,” where he interviews comedians like his first guest, Bill Engvall, plus business people, athletes, musicians, motivational speakers, etc. on the good, the bad, and the funny of fatherhood.
Quitting your job and starting a comedy career 4 days before turning 30, is probably not the smartest plan but that’s exactly what comedian William Lee Martin did in 1996. Three short years later he was opening for country legend, George Strait at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, TX in front of 75,000 laughing concerting goers. That performance propelled William Lee’s career.
Rising quickly to the role of headliner for some of the most prestigious clubs including the Funny Bones, Improvs, Catch a Rising Star, Loony Bin, Carnival’s Punchliner and becoming a regular in Las Vegas, William Lee first hit the stage under the lifelong nickname his grandfather gave him, “Cowboy Bill”. He has also entertained our troops overseas and toured with other country stars like George Jones, Brad Paisley and all four of the Blue Collar guys.
It all culminated in his getting his first one-hour television special in 2015 on CMT called Cowboy Bill Martin: Let the Laughter Roll which was seen in over 1.7 million homes. In January, 2016, Martin launched the Kings of Cowtown Comedy Tour.
Despite the success, William Lee once again made wholesale changes in life and career in 2017 including cleaning up his act, dropping the moniker, Cowboy Bill and getting his first movie role in the film, 300 Savage. Now with an impeccable reputation for writing accessible, original material with gut busting laughs, William Lee is hailed as one of most talented comedians working today. On social media, he writes and performs the hugely popular, The Living in the Middle Report, a hilarious explanation of problems facing middle-income America.
But long before these milestones, he and his wife, Michele, started the non-profit organization Cowboys Who Care Foundation, designed to provide support, smiles and free cowboy hats to kids with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The idea began in 2010 when Martin was asked to perform at a fundraiser for a young fan named Ashley Miller from Celina, TX, who was battling a rare form of cancer. After she lost her battle in June 2011, Martin knew he wanted to help other kids and families like hers. That led to the creation of the organization.
CWCF works with child-life specialists in children's medical centers and hospitals across the country to coordinate their special visits. In the outings, they visit with the kids and their parents in playrooms and often go room to room in the oncology departments and ICU. Now, CWCF even offers a Request-a-Hat program where they can provide a new hat to child completely free just by filling out the form on their website cowboyswhocare.org . To date they have delivered over 9,000 Resistol hats from coast to coast.
Although William Lee’s passion is comedy, he also has written several songs including, I’ll Stand for You and 400 Horses. On the home front, William Lee is happily married. He and his wife are the proud parents of five beautiful children and four grandsons.