Curtis Payne, the show's main protagonist. He is often referred to as Uncle Curtis by his nephew C.J., his nephew's wife Janine, and their children,
Malik and Jazmine. Curtis is known for his hackneyed jokes and overly-loud delivery. He is overweight and fainted once from a blocked artery, but he ignored the diet his wife Ella set for him and is unable to stay away from his usual fatty foods. A noticeable running gag is when he jokingly pushes Ella to the side with one arm when he wants to go by, she usually lands on the sofa. Despite such immaturity, his maturity and responsibility are apparent in his job as the chief of the local fire department. While he gives off the impression that he does not care for his family, deep down he truly does, and he works hard to protect them. In one episode, his middle name was revealed as Booker T. In the sixth season, Curtis was forced to retire which left him depressed and humiliated for a time; he eventually embraced it and his nephew C.J. took over his old job. LaVan Davis won an NAACP Image Awards in 2008 for Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series for this role. In the first part of the series finale, "The Call Back", CJ asks Curtis to come out of retirement to oversee three stations that CJ runs. At first, Curtis refuses and yells at CJ saying how they already forced him into retirement, and that he wasn't going back, but at the end of the episode, after talking with Ella, he decided to return.