Jokes not pol­i­tics when Steve Martin, Martin Short team up

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - MARK KENNEDY

NEW YORK — Co­me­di­ans Steve Martin and Martin Short are gear­ing up for a na­tional tour, of­fer­ing a show with plenty of jokes and mu­sic — but pre­cious lit­tle pol­i­tics.

The duo say they’ll be step­ping around the topic of Don­ald Trump and the elec­tion dur­ing their “An Evening You Will For­get for the Rest of Your Life” tour, which launches Fri­day in Sara­sota, Fla.

“I think it’s more im­por­tant to find safe is­lands where you can put all this end­less neg­a­tive en­ergy aside and cel­e­brate some­thing that’s per­haps non-par­ti­san,” said Short.

The show, which vis­its dozens of states from North Carolina to Cal­i­for­nia, in­cludes standup com­edy, film clips, mu­si­cal num­bers and con­ver­sa­tions about their lives in show busi­ness. Martin thinks it’s too early af­ter a di­vi­sive elec­tion to add par­ti­san­ship to the mix.

“I be­lieve that the com­mu­nity of Amer­ica is ex­tremely volatile right now,” he said. “I think it’s time to lay off it be­cause for peo­ple who are vested one way or the other, it’s very hard for them to laugh at it. In time, it’ll be fine. In time. But right now, it’s like, ‘Are you with us or against us?’”

The show will have cos­tume changes, im­prov, blue­grass from Martin’s six-piece band, Steep Canyon Rangers, and show tunes from Short and his ac­com­pa­nist, pi­anist Jeff Babko. There’s even a bit of cross-dress­ing. (“We do that mostly back­stage,” Martin joked.) The co­me­dian Cather­ine O’Hara has called their act a chil­dren’s show for adults.

“The form is loose enough that we can keep chang­ing bits, tak­ing bits out that we’re tired of, adding new songs, adding new com­edy ideas,” said Short. “We re­ally are try­ing to go for a wall of laughs.”

Martin and Short have been friends since the 1980s. They have worked to­gether on films “Three Ami­gos” and the “Fa­ther of the Bride” fran­chise. Both adore the com­edy of Mike Ni­chols and Elaine May and make each other laugh.

“When I’m off­stage and Marty is do­ing his solo 10 min­utes in the show, I sit there and ad­mire it. It’s like he’s do­ing it for the first time. I couldn’t do it,” said Martin.

They both said the health of com­edy is good, cit­ing a bumper crop of late-night TV shows, well-writ­ten sit­coms and the de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion of the In­ter­net. They’re fans of the next gen­er­a­tion of comics such as Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Fred Ar­misen and Bill Hader.

“I think there’s a lot of great things go­ing on in com­edy,” Martin said.

“The more ac­tors work, the bet­ter they be­come,” Short added.


Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short are gear­ing up for a na­tional tour.

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