Steve Martin appreciation thread


You can't make a rainbow without a little rain.
I like Steve Martin, but sometimes he's just a bit too "over the top" for me, like in "The Muppet Movie" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action".

My favorite Steve Martin movies are "All of Me" and "Roxanne", but IMO his absolutely best performance was "King Tut" on SNL.

I like Steve Martin, but sometimes he's just a bit too "over the top" for me, like in "The Muppet Movie" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action".

My favorite Steve Martin movies are "All of Me" and "Roxanne", but IMO his absolutely best performance was "King Tut" on SNL.
For its subtly in rhyming "donkey" and "honky", I presume? Nothing over-the-top in that ditty.

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

And lookie here, Steve Martin movie news, after all...
Father of the Bride 3 to Focus on Gay Marriage
Steve Martin set to return in third installment in the franchise, which sees
offspring originally played by Kieran Culkin engaged to the son of a U.S. Navy Seal

By Ben Child, Monday 16 June 2014 04.23 EDT

A new Father of the Bride movie will see Steve Martin's curmudgeonly dad planning the upcoming nuptials of his gay son, according to reports on

Father of the Bride Part III is expected to see Martin return as businessman patriarch George Banks, with Diane Keaton as his wife, Nina. Its plot centers on the couple's son Matty, originally played by Kieran Culkin – who is unconfirmed for the new film – who reveals that he is to marry the son of a U.S. Navy Seal.

Unable to process the news, the "thunderstruck and speechless" Banks is thrown out of the family home by Nina in the new storyline. Father of the Bride III will once again see original director and co-writer, Charles Shyer, taking charge of the cameras and working on the script.

The new film would be the first entirely original movie in the series. The original 1991 Father of the Bride was based on the 1950 film of the same name, while 1995's Father of the Bride II was loosely based on 1951's Father's Little Dividend, a sequel to the earlier movie.

They just gots to name it Father of the Groom, yeah?

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Tonight Steve Martin racks up yet another impressive industry honor: The American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. He is the forty-third recipient of this AFI career nod.

Ahead of this honor, the The Hollywood Reporter did this nice little piece on his career...

Steve Martin on eve of his AFI award: 'I never
had a vision for my career'

By Susan King, The Hollywood Reporter

Since his breakout role as the sweetly naive Navin Johnson in director Carl Reiner's 1979 hit The Jerk and the three Reiner collaborations that followed — Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Man With Two Brains and All of Me — Steve Martin has made about forty films, most recently the animated hit Home. Two days after this interview, he was to report to work on Ang Lee's forthcoming Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, in which he plays the owner of a professional football team. "I never had a vision for my career," Martin said. "So I kind of do what comes along that I like."

What comes along next is the 43rd American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, which Martin will receive at a Thursday evening gala at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. He will join an elite group of actors and directors who have won the honor, including fellow funnyman Mel Brooks, who will present the award, as well as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda. "The company is so profound," said Martin, who will turn seventy in August, "the only thing I can think is, 'What am I doing up there?'"

His good friend and frequent costar Martin Short (Three Amigos, Father of the Bride) said the answer is obvious: Martin takes the craft of comedy awfully seriously. "He will phone me up and say, 'Tell me if you think this joke is funny,'" Short said. "He likes to have fun on the set and is loose on the set [but] he's very prepared. I don't think Steve has walked through anything in his life." Best known for comedies including the late '80s hits Roxanne, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, not to mention the 1991 film L.A. Story, Martin has taken his dramatic work just as seriously.

After the success of The Jerk, he made a bold choice by not doing another comedy. Instead, he chose for his second film Pennies From Heaven, a dark Depression-era tale in which the characters lip-synced to songs of the day. The film was not a hit when it came out in 1981, but it has grown in admiration during the last three decades. "I loved Pennies From Heaven so much," Martin said. "I really didn't have the option to wait. The movie was there, then. It was also an escape for me from my own persona, which I had been doing for essentially eighteen years. So it represented so many things to me. I found it very emotional. Probably in truth, it was too soon for me to do something like this."

Since then, Martin has been able to transform himself into a modern-day renaissance man. Besides an actor and screenwriter, he's a bestselling author, playwright, producer, magician and fierce banjo player (his 2013 bluegrass collaboration with Edie Brickell, "Love Has Come for You," won the Grammy for American roots song). He's also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor and an honorary Oscar.

"He is very, very smart and enormously curious," Short said. And he's a great dinner guest. Just the night before, Short said, the two were at a dinner party where Martin performed two mystifying card tricks. "Everyone at the table was saying this is insane, this is impossible what he had just done," Short said. "Then he could have taken the lemons in the middle of the room and started juggling perfectly. Then he is a novelist, writes plays, knows every painting on anyone's wall and its origin and history and why it's good or bad. And, oh yeah, he plays the banjo. There's a lot going on with that young man."

That's high praise for someone who came to fame as a stand-up comic wearing bunny ears and a fake arrow on his head and proclaiming, "I'm just a wild and crazy guy!" In his bestselling memoir Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, Martin recalled the summer of 1965, when he stayed in an $8 hotel room in San Francisco while performing for free at the club Coffee and Confusion. "At this point, my act was a catchall, cobbled together from the disparate universities of juggling, comedy, banjo playing, weird bits I had written in college, and magic tricks," he said. "I was strictly Monday-night quality."

Fifty years ago, Martin said, he never would have dreamed of what his career would become. "This is an artist who was a rock star first and then became someone who we know him to be today," said Bob Gazzale, AFI's president and chief executive. "Even that's hard to describe. He is a talent that cannot be contained by a single art form."

Just a few years after his gig at the Coffee and Confusion, Martin worked as a writer on the CBS series "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour", winning an Emmy. After years of struggling and fine-tuning his comedy routine, Martin developed a surreal performance-art style of stand-up that captured the zeitgeist of the 1970s. He sold out arenas. His comedy albums were bestsellers. His novelty tune, "King Tut", which he introduced during one of his many hosting gigs on "Saturday Night Live", was a surprise hit in 1978.

Working with Carl Reiner taught Martin a lot of practicalities about film. "When we had the script for The Jerk, he said the first thing I do with the script is change all the nights to day, just to make the shooting easier," Martin said. "Any night we can change to a day, we change."

Comedy, Martin said, isn't pretty. It leaves you unsteady. "You have to get those laughs, and if they are not there, it's devastating," he said. "Especially when you are thinking this is going to kill them and then it doesn't." Martin has discovered over the years, though, that the comedy bits he loved but didn't think would get a laugh "those are the bits that people actually remember, that grow on them," he said. Like a quick joke in The Jerk. "Carl and I were laughing driving to work for thirty minutes at this joke," Martin said. "The joke is: I'm hitchhiking in Missouri and the character's name is Navin Johnson. A car pulls over and said, "St. Louis?' And I say, 'No, Navin Johnson.' "

TBS will air the AFI tribute on June 13th. TCM will present an encore on July 30 during an evening of Martin's films.

Wow, I just now saw this thread. Sorry, Holden! I've loved Steve Martin's work since the very beginning. I remember the albums, and I tried to buy every single one. I can remember him being such a big deal back in the 70's when comedy albums weren't the biggest things going. I had some friends over at my house during high school and I put the first album on the stereo and everybody just sort of gathered around and laughed all the way through it. Good times. I've since bought three CDs of his, Let's Get Small, Wild and Crazy Guy, and Comedy Is Not Pretty. I was hoping they'd release The Steve Martin Brothers on CD. I'm sure you know that's the one that's half comedy, half serious bluegrass music. This is my favorite bit from that album (it was release in the early 80s, hence a few dated references):

Holden, did you know that there's a DVD collection that includes two of his stand-up specials and all of his NBC specials. I must own that sucker.

Thanks for this great thread to an awesome talent! Can't wait for the AFI Life Achievement show.
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

Holden, did you know that there's a DVD collection that includes two of his stand-up specials and all of his NBC specials. I must own that sucker.
Yes, I know we have discussed it somewhere here on the site, but trying to use the search function I didn't see it on first pass.

That DVD set is amazing. Collects all of his TV specials, I got to upgrade the Universal Ampitheater concert and "The Absent-Minded Waiter" that I have on LaserDisc, and there is tons of random stuff on there from his decades on television.

I pre-ordered my set through Shout! Factory when they first announced it and got a hand-signed edition. Not a business card, but Steve's actual signature on the box.

Originally Posted by dadgumblah
Thanks for this great thread to an awesome talent! Can't wait for the AFI Life Achievement show.
You betchum. And for those of you still foolishly not following Steve Martin on Twitter, you are missing gems like this Tweet, from a couple weeks back...

Here is a brief review of the AFI ceremony last night...
Steve Martin wins the night at AFI

Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY

Stepping onstage in a room full of comedians to accept his AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, Steve Martin said it best: "How do I top this parade of stars who have been so, so funny?"


And it was true, though Mel Brooks, Martin Short, Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Carell, Lily Tomlin, Amy Poehler, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Silverman and Carl Reiner ("my second father," said Martin) gave it their all. They gathered at the Dolby Theater Thursday night to toast Martin's long career, begun at Disneyland as a teenager working in a magic shop.

And only Short dared make this joke: "Steve Martin told me that one of his fondest memories was strolling through Disneyland with Uncle Walt and playing Walt's favorite game of 'Jew or not a Jew?' "

In the same theater the Academy Awards are held, Queen Latifah sang along to a banjo, and Jack Black and Diane Keaton sang, too. Tina Fey shared advice Martin gave her: "To be early is to be on time. And to be on time is a sign of weakness. Never shake hands when an open-mouthed kiss would suffice...You can fix your nose, or your teeth. But to do both is more money than I'm willing to lend you."

Then it was Poehler's turn. "It's time to realize why we're all here, which is to raise money for FIFA," cracked Poehler, before auctioning off Martin to the highest bidder (for $51). As Lorne Michaels looked on, O'Brien fondly recalled first meeting Martin in his days as a fledgling writer on Saturday Night Live. "I will never forget his first words to me: 'I said decaf!' I knew then we'd become friends in eighteen years," said O'Brien.

Short came the closest to stealing the show. He had the room in stitches while roasting his longtime screen partner (the two have made five films together, from ¡Three Amigos! to Father of the Bride). "I said to Steve, what would you be doing if you weren't a talented comedic actor?' And he said, 'Probably what you're doing.'" What has Short learned about his frequent co-star? "Steve's name must appear on the movie poster. And if there's room for the movie title, great."

But fame, even lifetime of it, is fleeting, said Martin. "I have learned you have to remain humble," said the night's honoree. "Last year I was walking down the street and a young girl about seventeen said to me: 'Did you do that movie The Jerk? I said, yes, I did. And she said, 'You gonna do another movie?'"

The AFI award show will air on TBS Saturday, June 13, at 10 p.m.

Thanks for the extra stuff you posted! And I will admit that the only reason I gave rep to The Rodent's video was because I thought that was Clay Aiken trying desperately to get Steve's attention, therefore I thought it was a bit. As it is, it turned out indeed to be a bit, albeit a cheap bit by probably the same guy that kissed Will Smith and got slapped for doing so. But, I digress. And I only say all this because somewhere in my mind (off to the side somewhere probably) I think that Steve Martin knows this thread exists and he will not allow any disrespect. Be afraid of The Steve, Rodent. Be afraid.

It is on now
And of course I totally missed it! I actually looked at the listings for the rest of the night, knowing that they often repeat these specials and it said nothing about it, so phooey on them! Maybe it will be on YouTube sooner or later.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
As soon as it ended, it started again.

From Holden's post above.
TCM will present an encore on July 30 during an evening of Martin's films.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

A couple of my favorite appearances by Steve on talk shows. This first one is from Johnny Carson's Tonight Show:

This is a whole episode of Letterman from 1984. To get right to Steve, forward to @22:57 minutes in the show where Steve comes out. Keep watching even when Brooke Shields comes out till the end. Funny stuff.

I believe I have watched all forty-three of these AFI Life Achievement Award ceremonies over the years. I have a bunch of the early ones on LaserDisc or dubbed onto DVD from VHS. Steve Martin's was definitely one of the funniest, if not the funniest beginning to end, and it also had some very nice and honest sincerity. I have already watched it a few times, all the way through.

The one element that seems missing to me, as a longtime watcher of these things, are tributes from the audience members. Carl Reiner is the only person on the broadcast who we hear speak from the floor. It is often one of the highlights of the show, the barrage of former co-stars, directors, and admirers seemingly passing the microphone and giving their own anecdotes (Steve Martin himself was actually very funny from the table at Gene Kelly's ceremony). I am very glad Carl's was included, and I wonder if the only reason he wasn't an official presenter is that it was easier for him to stand and speak from his table rather than walk across stage?

I can't imagine that the format was changed this year, which means that the others who spoke that night simply didn't make it to the broadcast portion.

Some of the collaborators you can see in the audience but we don't get to hear are Frank Oz (director of Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, HouseSitter, and Bowfinger), Randy Newman (composer on Parenthood and ¡Three Amigos!, where he also played the Singing Bush), and Kevin Nealon ("SNL" alum who appears in Roxanne).

Anyway, a small quibble. Great awards show. If you didn't catch it or DVR it, definitely check it out on Turner Classic Movies at the end of the month.

*as a side note, I have said it before and I will say it again: it is absolutely insane that Martin Short has never been tapped to host the Oscars.

This is well laid out and beautifully written tribute to one of my favorite performers. Thank you for doing this, it clearly took a lot of time but your passion for the subject is evident and I really enjoyed reading it.

Movie Forums Stage-Hand
I think he's highly underrated in my generation. Most people my age know him from things like The Pink Panther.

The Jerk is one of the best movies of all time and most people my age have never heard of it