Making a long story Short's

Comedian Martin Short, who was once anxious about his career longevity, has stayed admirably in the game.

November 12, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • "An Evening with Martin Short" will be at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Nov. 21.
"An Evening with Martin Short" will be at the… (Andrew MacNaughtan )

When Martin Short was a young man, he set out on a career in show business, but first he had to convince a tough critic — himself.

So, he gave himself one-year contracts. If, at the same time the following year, he'd made a living, he'd renew it.

This continued through his 20s, until, at a certain point, he realized, "Oh, I guess I'm stuck — I've got to do this."

"I think it's fine at age 50 to look in the mirror and say, 'Maybe if you tried being an actor, you'd have liked that,'" Short remarked. "Then you can say, 'You did try being an actor, remember? No one hired you.'"

Short's successful search for passion and joy has spanned over three decades and earned him 19 Emmy Award nominations. Starting out on "Saturday Night Live," he went on to act in "Three Amigos," "Father of the Bride" and "Mars Attacks!", working alongside the likes of Steve Martin, Christopher Guest and Chevy Chase.


Now, he's coming to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for "An Evening with Martin Short" on Thursday.

The venue's president, Terry Dwyer, recalled meeting him in 1993 while working at the La Jolla Playhouse, which, that year, won the Tony Award for Best American Regional Theater. He was standing backstage with Des McAnuff, the artistic director, when Short — a Canadian like McAnuff — approached them.

"Martin's a really fun, really lively, entertaining guy," said Dwyer, who has been trying for almost 10 years to host the actor. "He's very genuine, and the audience will see that. He's a great comic who assumes his characters completely and has an impeccable sense of comedic timing."

Some roles on tap for Short's Costa Mesa premiere include songwriter Irving Cohen; Franck, a wedding planner; Ed Grimley, a popular culture fiend with a cowlick; and Jiminy Glick, an overweight junk food lover who uses ginkgo biloba to buttress his memory. Along with songs, dance routines and improv, the approximately 90-minute show will feature movie clips, multimedia effects and viewer participation.

"My analogy is, it's as if I was hosting 'Saturday Night Live' and was the host and entire cast," said Short, who writes his own material. "I think the audience already knows me, so they want to see that I'm in a good mood. Do I want to be there? Am I having fun? I want them to walk away and say, 'I feel I had a hang with Martin Short.'"

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