On Tuesday, actor Martin Short released his memoir I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend. In it, the comedian leaves no topic untouched, discussing his real-life humble beginnings with Toronto’s Second City improv troupe, his unfortunate experience on Saturday Night Live and personal subjects such as his marriage to Canadian actress Nancy Dolman. Here are five things we learned from Short’s new book:
“When I finally took a breath, he looked at me quizzically for a moment and said, “I ordered a vodka about twenty minutes ago. Can you find out what happened to that?”
During the making of Father of the Bride, it was suggested that Short’s character, eccentric wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer, had an accent that was so broad, audiences wouldn’t be able to tell where he was from. Relying on his improv skills, Short played Franck a handful of different ways, giving director Charles Shyer a number of versions to choose from. Shyer ended up going with the heightened presentation seen in the movie, thus creating one of Short’s most adored characters.
For many comedians, joining Saturday Night Live is the ultimate dream. But sometimes that dream isn’t exactly as imagined. Short had just come from SCTV—which he describes as having been heaven to work at—when he joined the cast of SNL in 1984. Dick Ebersol was executive producing at the time, taking over during Lorne Michaels’ infamous leave from the show.
Short soon realized it was not the right fit; he didn’t enjoy being “funny on demand,” felt that the pressure was too much and admits that that era of SNL didn’t have a very welcoming environment. Since then, however, Short has been back to host several times, is friendly with “at least 90 percent of the cast” and has even kissed Lorne Michaels on the mouth on national television.
During the summer following his single season on Saturday Night Live, Short met with Lorne Michaels to discuss returning to the show. During their meeting, Michaels asked Short if he would take a role in a little western-satire movie Michaels had written with Steve Martin and Randy Newman. Short told Michaels he wasn’t sure SNL was his future but he was interested in ¡Three Amigos!
Though the final product ended up starring Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Case, Short shares that Billy Crystal and the late Robin Williams were originally attached, as was Dan Aykroyd at one point.
Throughout the book, Short graciously shares entertaining stories about his countless celebrity encounters. A recurring theme is the comedian embarrassing himself when meeting his idols, including the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra.
One night, Short, Chevy Chase and a ton of other celebrities went to see the legendary crooner perform. After the concert, a mutual friend introduced Short to Sinatra and the two exchanged mutual adoration for each other. According to Short, Sinatra told him, “I know well of you. And you’re mah-velous.”
“I’d known Frank Sinatra for fifteen seconds and already pissed him off. I thought he was going to take out his gun and shoot me in the leg, so it was time to split.”