Cassi Davis Patton is best known as Ella Payne on the Tyler Perry sitcom Tyler Perry's House of Payne. The series is gearing up for the debut of its eighth season set to premiere on BET. Initially launched on TBS, the series revolves around a multi-generational family living in Atlanta led by Curtis Payne (LaVan Davis) and his wife, Ella. Though it’s a situational comedy, there are other darker themes and deep subject matter explored, including substance abuse and addiction.
There’s a reason the show has lasted so long, occupying the #1 spot for a comedy series on cable for African Americans in two demographics in 2020. Davis says the theme of family is the cause for its success.
“House of Payne just caters and tailors itself toward generations,” she gushed in a recent interview with Shadow and Act. “It’s not just 18-32, or 50-70 - but we encompass things that young people are having to go through...the messages are so intertwined with the lifestyles that we have as African Americans and I think when people turn on the TV they can really relate.”
Aside from House of Payne, Davis is a staple alongside Perry. She met Perry by chance when he saw her in a stage production orchestrated by one of her friends. Ironically, the production Perry saw her in was just something she did for a favor, after she’d sworn off the entertainment business years earlier due to not taking rejection well on the auction circuit. For two years, Perry begged Davis to join him on tour. She finally agreed, making her debut in Madea Goes to Jail. That was in 2002. She’s been part of Perry’s brand since.
The chemistry between Perry and Davis is unmatched. Together, they make an awesome pair as Perry as his famous Mabel “Madea” Simmons character, and Davis as Madea’s funny best friend Betty Anne Murphy, aka Aunt Bam.
Watch any stage play and it’s clear the two often go off-script. Davis uses the analogy of her and Perry’s chemistry to two basketball players. The energy between the two transfers off-screen and off the stage as well. “From the first day we met, we have ally-ooped each other if you will,” she says, “I’ll throw it up, he’ll slam it. Or he’ll throw it up and I’ll slam it. Off-stage and off-script, it is so phenomenal. It’s just a wonderful relationship of two people who trust and believe in each other. His word has been golden and I have done what I’ve said I was going to do.”
Davis is credited for creating Bam, explaining the character came about during a joking session between her and Perry.
“We were on tour with Madea Goes to Jail and he was being Madea and I did a character voice as an older woman as his friend and he said, ‘Can you do that?’” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Yes she can, she would love to.'”
Check out the full interview below where we speak about Davis’ beginnings, her musical background, and upcoming projects. Tyler Perry's House of Payne airs Tuesday.