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Q&A: Martin Short

Jennifer Pfaff

What advice would Franck Eggelhoffer have for brides today? 

[In Eggelhoffer’s voice] Be chic, be elegant and not give a damn about what people think. Know who you are, know what to say and not to give a damn.

 

Can you tell us about Franck’s background and his accent? Where is he from? 

I never determined that. I felt that he was born in Eastern Europe but he’d summered in France and he’d wintered in St. Barths and he’d been on yachts, and so his accent was so filled with pretention that at times he’d say, “Yes,” and at times he’d say, “Yah.”

 

Have you ever had a joke go wrong?

A million of them. That’s the world you live in. But you don’t worry about that. I mean, the whole secret of show business is you don’t take it personally. It’s just a business you do. And of course jokes will go wrong, things will bomb and you just accept it. If you had a fruit market, some of the fruit would turn unexpectedly.

 

You’ve done singing, writing, producing and acting and appeared on Broadway, TV and the big screen. What other career goals do you have?

I’ve never directed a movie. I’ve never directed a play. And I’ve had many offers through the years to do that. And I guess I could say, “Oh, some day I’d like to direct.” But I don’t think that’s true [laughs]. I think that I would’ve done it.

   I think that I prefer to be doing what I can. I suppose when I reach a point that I don’t feel that I’m pulling off what I’d like to pull off on stage, that I’m not as spry, then I could see doing something else or totally doing something else. But I think that I’m constantly challenged and enjoy the world of being an actor.

   I’ve always done a wide range of things. After you’ve been doing it a long time, you’re not worried about paying your rent. The bigger concern is: How do you keep yourself from not getting bored by doing the same thing you’ve done many, many times? Nothing’s as exciting as the first movie or the first time you’re doing a Broadway show or the first time you’re doing a television series. But when you’re doing the eighteenth movie or the twentieth movie [laughs], it’s not quite the same. You try to see how many firsts you can get in there or create a wide variety of types of entertainment.

 

If you weren’t in the entertainment industry, what would you be doing?

I was going to be a social worker. I have a bachelor’s in social work. I don’t know. I have a feeling I would’ve gone into politics. I’ve always been fascinated by politics, even as a little kid. So I have a feeling that social work would’ve led to social behavior, helping mankind, and then taking it from there.

 

What would you say is your life motto?

To be happy. Everything happens to people, and you just have to figure out a way to still find happiness and joy in life, because it’s not a rehearsal. This is it.

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