Martin Short has been a staple of the comedic landscape for over 40 years and with stand-out characters like Ed Grimley, Jiminy Glick, Ned Nederlander, and Franck Eggelhoffer, most comedy fans these days pretty much grew up with the guy. On November 21st, the all-around entertainer comes to Segerstrom Center for the Arts for one night only with his one man show, An Evening with Martin Short. Before the big event, we were lucky enough to talk to this award winning comedian, singer, producer, voice actor, writer, and legend about Saturday Night Live, his new project, and to find out why this social genius isn't on social media.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I have to admit to you that I had the biggest crush on Ed Grimley when I was younger. I just had to get that off of my chest.
Martin Short: (Laughs) Well listen, he wasn't the best looking of guys so you have to look into your soul and figure out what that was about!
Yeah, my taste in men is wonky. So that aside, it was really fun to see you on SNL with the “five timers club.”
Oh yeah, that was a lot of fun. Those guys are really cool. It was surreal because every time they opened the door, a legend walked through it.
Would you go back again and become part of the “six timers club? ”
Oh sure! I'm going to do a TV series with Loren Michaels on FOX called “Mulaney.” Loren's my old buddy so it's always a historical rush to go back there. You totally go back to your crazy head frame of '84 and '85. It's like going back to high school.
What the premise of the new show “Mulaney?”
Well John Mulaney is a very funny stand-up and he was once a head writer on Saturday Night Live. Anyway, he plays a comedy writer who writes for a quiz show host. That host is me. There are a very good group of people working on the show.
Comedy has changed a lot over the years so I was wondering what your thoughts are on the way the media disciplines entertainers for things that they say.
Well I think it all gets down to the source. And the source is what you just said, the media. When I was 10 years-old, you'd watch the news one time a night and that where you got all of the news. Once it became 24-hours a day, there was there insatiable need to fill it. I remember when the E! Channel started and I thought, this is going to be a 24-hour news channel based on gossip? I thought it would never work, and I was wrong. So I think that if Michael Richards says something in a nightclub that gets videotaped not only is it scandalous from their perspective, it's also something to talk about. And they'll talk about it. And talk about it. And talk about it. I think the upside of that is that it doesn't really stay. It's like white noise. They always kind of go, what else is new. Also with society in tougher times, they want to read about trash on famous people so they can feel better. I mean, it's a natural kind of progression.
You're so right about needing time to fill. Do you think things get taken out of context and people get punished for doing their job of sorts?
I don't know if they really get punished though, and the Kardashian's prove that you know. I think more than ever we've entered a phase that there is no such thing as bad news. In a world where there is so much need for people to say, "Look at me,” any news is fine. It's like that "as long as they're talking about me” kind of approach. That's why people on one level will talk about the Patriot Act and how terrible it is and in the next breath put everything that they've experienced on Facebook. If you're drunk at a party, you'll post that picture. In the old days you wouldn't want anyone to see that but it's like, but they're looking at me dude!
Very true. Good call. Speaking of, how is it possible in 2013 that you don't have a Facebook, Twitter, or a website?
[Laughs.] Well, I just haven't really ever stumbled into a need for it. I have a lot of friends who are on Twitter but especially in comedy, you can't just say, oh my god I just had this great meal! You'd have to say something kind of witty. That to me would create pressure, like I have some final exam looming. That to me would be like, why? So I can have more people come up and ask me for an autograph? I think Twitter can be wildly effective at certain times in your career though. I think in general, it would just be one more thing. I've been the public eye for so long that this idea of reaching out in a social way and on a grander scheme doesn't appeal to me right now.
Not to worry, we'll promote your upcoming show on social media for you. Tell me all about your show at Segerstrom. Will you be doing improv? Characters? Singing?
All of those things. Jiminy Glick shows up, Ed Grimley, Franck…all of the characters show up. I'm also singing, dancing, improvising, and turning people into the Three Amigos. It's kind of a loose journey of my career. It's a party with Marty!
Martin Short performs at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on November 21st at 8p.m., 600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626., (714) 556-2787. For tickets go to www.scfta.org.