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Q&A: Martin Short

Jennifer Pfaff

One of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, Martin Short’s career spans television, movies and Broadway, with plenty of acting, singing, writing and producing along the way. Known for his fearless comedic performances, Short created iconic characters such as Saturday Night Live’s Ed Grimley, a triangle-playing nerd obsessed with Wheel of Fortune; Franck Eggelhoffer, the flamboyant event planner with a mysterious accent in the Father of the Bride movie series; and Jiminy Glick, a heavyset and patronizing celebrity interviewer who knows very little about pop culture. These days, Short is the voice of the titular feline in the TV series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, has a recurring role on How I Met Your Mother and is a judge on Canada’s Got Talent, which airs this month. As part of a nationwide tour, he is coming to the Sunrise Theatre for the Performing Arts in Fort Pierce on April 6 (tickets cost $55-$60) to perform a one-man comedic show in which he’ll bring many of his characters to life. 

 

 

PBI.com: Tell me about the performance you’ll have at the Sunrise Theatre.

SHORT: It’s a one-man variety show. I guess it’s like if I was hosting Saturday Night Live, but I was the host but I was also the cast. So all the characters I’ve done will show up and I’ll interview a surprise guest as a character, Jiminy Glick, and Ed Grimley will show up. Franck [Eggelhoffer] will show up. [laughs] It’s kind of a mad show. It’s just very loose and it’s fun.

 

You’ve created so many well-known characters and starred in so many recognizable roles. What would you say is your favorite or most meaningful?

I don’t have a favorite. It sounds pretentious, but they become your kids. You like them all. You’ve created them all. I usually let people tell me what they like. Comedy is a very subjective animal. So what one person might like, the other person might despise. But that’s all okay.

 

What would Ed Grimley be like today?

I think he’d be very similar. What I always liked about that character is that he was an adult who hadn’t lost the enthusiasm and excitement for the possible options of life. I guess he was like the type of person who’s had a heart attack and now smelled the roses for the first time. But he just hasn’t had the heart attack. He’s just filled with excitement: [in Grimley’s voice] “Oh, what if the phone rings? Who will be on the phone?” and, “Oh, I love Christmas.” It’s not that he was a little boy; he was an adult with a little boy’s enthusiasm for things. We all hope that we don’t lose that.

 

What would you say was Ed’s life motto?

The essence of his life was [in Grimley’s voice] in the everyday, just most exciting, fascinating things that could exist, I must say. 

 

Who was Jiminy Glick’s favorite person to interview?

Steve Martin, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Eugene Levy—a lot of great favorites. A lot of people are my friends, you know. It’s kind of like, who’s your friend? Who do you like the best?

 

And whom would he like to interview?

The best Jiminy Glick guest is someone who treats Jiminy like a real person. It’s someone who treats Jiminy as if he’s been in show business for years, and he may be a moron but you’ve got to do his show.

 

If I were to ask Jiminy what his qualifications were as an interviewer, and I mean that in the nicest possible way, what would he say?

[laughs] Right? He’d probably say [in Glick’s voice], “I think my best quality is that I don’t listen. I think that’s a mistake many interviewers make.”

 

 

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