Comedy a lifelong learning experience for Short 0
Martin Short. (WENN.COM)
Martin Short, one of Canada’s favourite sons, takes the stage of The Centre for Performing Arts Friday as the opening-night headliner of the Vancouver Comedy and Arts Festival. Prior to the show, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the former SCTV great.
24: What does a Martin Short show consist of?
MS: To me, it’s a party with Marty, but ultimately, I guess, it’s like if I were hosting Saturday Night Live with the cast and all the characters show up singing and dancing. There’s improv and of course Jiminy Glick will show up.
24: As a child, were you the class clown?
MS: I was the class clown as long as the teacher was weak. I had no agenda of being sent to the principal’s office and have my parents come in – that wasn’t going to happen. So if the teacher was strict I was as good as gold and if the teacher was weak, I would mock them and impersonate them behind their back.
24: Where do you think you got your comedic instinct from? What inspired you as a child?
MS: Truthfully, I was the youngest of five kids and everyone in my family was funny. My father was funny, my mother was funny and my brother Michael has won two Emmy Awards and so I think I just copied them and it was trickle-down comedy. Because I was the youngest and people thought I was so cute, I had this extra confidence and so I just stole from them and had the confidence to perform.
24: It was a production of Godspell that brought a lot of famous people together like you, Gilda Radner and Eugene Levy. Did you know at the time that this group of performers was really something special?
MS: I certainly knew that these people were remarkably talented. There was also Paul Shaffer. He went to the auditions in Toronto to play (piano) for a girlfriend and Steven Schwartz who had written Godspell basically said he didn’t want to hire her but asked who the guy was playing piano and made him the musical director. It was an amazing group but about a year later when I was going out with Gilda, I remember her getting on the phone to Paul who was in New York and asking him what New York actors were like. Paul said that we were just as talented.
24: Any fan of comedy gives praise to SCTV. Do you still run into people that cite episodes of that show?
MS: Oh yeah. I think that when people are 13, 14, 15, they’re at the most influential stage comedically; they’re listening to albums or watching movies and more people have told me that, literally SCTV was their Bible. I was always brag about that because I was the interloper; I came late.
24: It’s even more impressive given the caliber of comedy that came out of rather primitive studios with what I’m guessing was a typical small Canadian TV budget.
MS: Yes, but as the show progressed between 1976 and 1984, certainly the budget went up and the look got better.
24: I’m sure you’ve spent a fair bit of time in Vancouver over the years. Do you have any special memories or anything that really sticks in your mind about this city?
MS: The first time I went to Vancouver was 1974 for the Chrysler Industrial Show and I could not get over how spectacularly beautiful it was. I felt like I was surrounded by an ice cream sundae; snow on the mountains and biking through Stanley Park. I’ve always found it to be very hip and an exotically beautiful city.