How many comedians can boast about being on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and on The Late Show with David Letterman numerous times?
How many people can say they were on both shows in the last week of each show’s final run?
How many people get phone calls from comedians like Steve Martin trying out their new jokes?
The answer to all three of these questions is Martin Short. As well, it seems safe to say that Mr. Short is one of Canada’s most famous comedic sons, having been in many successful movies and comedy shows over the years.
Short hit the stage at Club Regent to, in his words, “a sitting ovation.” He was moderately impressed. After explaining to the audience he is doing a solo show because no one wants to work with him, he walked into the crowd looking for three volunteers. As soon as he entered the audience he grabbed a lovely lady and kissed her.
Eventually he took his three victims, er um, volunteers up on stage, promptly gave them sombreros and coached them in the Three Amigos salute.
After playing with one of his guests and finding out he was a police officer, Short backed off and said that if he smelled anything funny up there it’s that guy, pointing to the hippy looking dude he pulled up on stage.
The Hamilton native then did a bit of a retrospective of his life. He talked about how he practiced his bits and routines in front of a mirror in the attic room above his parents house in Hamilton, Ontario.
He shared with the audience the inspiration for some of his now famous characters like the nerdy Ed Grimley. Apparently a high school acquaintance who was a photography buff would talk like that, ending phrases with “you know” and a giant smirk on his face.
Another character, The Defensive Lawyer, came about when Martin worked on Saturday Night Live and he was trying to come up with a new character. He was hanging out with friend Billy Crystal who suggested since he was always mimicking SNL‘s make up person’s defensive attitude, why not develop that.
Short created the character even though he wasn’t keen on the idea as he had to work with her and didn’t want to offend her.
She never realized he was mimicking her until another stagehand got drunk at a crew party and told her. Her reaction was a very defensive, “I know that, don’t you know I know that,” which turned out to be a trademark line of that character.
Earlier in the show, Short played a lounge lizard, getting up on the piano and stepping on the pianist’s fingers as he got on top.
Trying to figure out how to look cool and casual while on the piano, he looked at his striped socks wondering if they were some kind of fashion disaster.
In between his live bits on stage, video clips of his movies and Second City TV bits were shown on three video screens.
Three clips of the obnoxious talk show host Jiminy Glick interviewing Tom Hanks, Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfield had all three guests (again, the word guests, like volunteers, can be substituted with ‘victims’) cracking up to the hilarious Mr. Glick.
Then, the fleshy Jiminy Glick hit the stage in the flesh, where he introduced a true Winnipeg legend (“cause he told me to say that”), the Honourable Brian Bowman.
The Mayor was a good sport and had difficulty holding back the chuckles as his interviewer asked him some of the most embarrassing questions, like who of his running mates in the mayoral race had really bad hygiene.
Another video clip shown was Short’s hilarious take on the Olympic event Synchronized Swimming; a gag that could only come from the mind of someone whose goal in life is to make others laugh.
At the end of his set, Short got another ovation, this time of the standing kind, unlike the opening one.
He came back and shared a story about being at a party at Johnny Carson’s house where Frank Sinatra was a guest. After meeting old blue eyes, Carson encouraged Short to get up and sing one of the crooner’s songs, which he reluctantly did.
His encore at Club Regent included the song that he sang at Johnny Carson’s mansion that night.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer