Steve Martin and Martin Short mark comic careers in a new Netflix show
Netflix special celebrates a lifetime of Steve Martin and Martin Short
If you’re up for a few laughs with two comedy amigos with almost a century of showbiz excellence between them, then you won’t want to miss Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, which arrived on Netflix on Friday.
The comedians team up for musical sketches and conversations about their lives in entertainment and stand-up, and deliver an array of new material drawn from their current North American tour together, as well as some ear candy from their musical guests, Grammy-winning bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers and jazz pianist Jeff Babko. Friends for more than three decades, their rapport is easy and their humour appears effortless.
“When Marty and I fly together, we save a lot of money – because Marty fits conveniently in the overhead bin,” Martin says of his diminutive co-star.
Short gets his licks in, too, about his platinum-haired pal: “You look like [CNN newsman] Anderson Cooper froze to death on New Year’s Eve.”
The two first met when Short popped by Martin’s house to pick up a copy of his script for Three Amigos, their successful 1986 adventure-comedy in which they shared the silver screen with Chevy Chase as a trio of out-of-work cowboy film stars from Hollywood’s silent era, who take a gig to try to rid a Mexican village of a real-life bandito.
“After a film ends, you always have a choice: you can either be in the trenches with someone and never see them again or continue seeing them. We continued,” Short recently told The New York Times.
For Martin, 72, the journey towards comic renown began as a schoolboy selling guidebooks, doing magic tricks and creating balloon animals at Disneyland, followed by philosophy and theatre studies, before he dropped out of college. He found his footing as a writer for the subversive comedy of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967, and a decade later his arrow-through-the-head shtick, non-sequiturs and banjo-playing skill had won him a following in the millions after celebrated appearances on Saturday Night Live as a “wild and crazy guy” chasing girls or a funky-strutting pharaoh singing King Tut.
The Waco, Texas-born master of the absurd went on to even greater heights in movies such as The Jerk, Roxanne and L.A. Story, and in writing for the Broadway stage (his 2017 play Meteor Shower garnered a Tony nomination for its star Amy Schumer). In recent years he’s devoted more of his career to his music, recording and touring with top bluegrass acts.
Martin has won Emmy, Grammy and American Comedy Awards, among many honours, including the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour, in 2005.
Meanwhile, Short, 68, spent his childhood in Canada’s steel town of Hamilton, Ontario, and earned a degree in social work, anticipating a career in the field. But a 1972 Toronto production of Godspell – which also starred the likes of Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin – spun his head towards the performing arts.
He won fame on Second City Television (SCTV) and Saturday Night Live (SNL). In that time he perfected characters such as the cowlick-sporting manchild Ed Grimley, and later the morbidly obese, clueless celebrity interviewer Jiminy Glick on Comedy Central’s Primetime Glick.
Like Martin, Short has enjoyed success in films (Innerspace, Father of the Bride) and on Broadway, winning a Tony for his lead performance in Little Me. Earlier this month, fans watched the pair trade affectionate comic barbs from the guest couch on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“Well, Steve, at his age, doesn’t so much tour as he wanders off,” Short tells Fallon, then teases with mock sarcasm: “Let me tell you something. Nothing connects with the millennials like banjo playing. I listen to Steve on the banjo and I just close my eyes – and I pretend I’m on hold with Cracker Barrel.”
Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life is available on Netflix