Talk show new Short road to success?
September 14, 1999
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- He made a wild entrance as the Mad Hatter in NBC's "Alice in Wonderland" earlier this year. He was king of the zany entrances during his 1980s stint on the network's "Saturday Night Live." And he made an unusual entrance at Sunday's Emmy Awards, appearing as an obese Hollywood gossip columnist.
So maybe it's not surprising that with the debut of his new syndicated variety-talk show this week (see local listings for channel and time), Martin Short has plenty of grand entrances planned.
"We don't have a mandate to open with a song," he tells CNN Showbiz Today's Jim Moret and Laurin Sydney, although "it seems that every time we do this, we open with a song.
"I will come through one of many entrances, swinging from up there," he points to a spot above the seats in his new studio, "or from the audience behind you."
If his entrances are loosely planned, so is the show itself. "There's no desk," he says. "It's sketch," in which he promises to reprise many of his offbeat improvisational characters, including Ed Grimley -- one of his most-used characters on the Canadian comedy show "SCTV" -- and Nelson Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn's fictional grand-nephew, a hot dog vendor in New York.
Short says he may debut new characters as well, including his Jiminy Glick, an ersatz entertainment reporter he first publicly paraded during Sunday's Emmys pre-show.
And, of course Short will bring in the requisite big names -- in this, his debut week, he's to have Eric Idle, Tom Hanks, Kelly Preston and French Stewart join him on the show.
Why a daily show?
This isn't the first time Short's been the eponym of a show -- in 1994, he starred in the short-lived sitcom "The Martin Short Show" as a family man who was also the star of a TV comedy show. Only four episodes aired before the show was bumped.
But his career otherwise has seen a remarkable number of successful projects, including roles in 1998's "The Prince of Egypt," this year's "Alice in Wonderland," "A Simple Wish" (1998) and "Three Amigos!" (1986).
Short, 49 and a native of Hamilton, Ontario, was nominated last year for an Emmy for his performance in the made-for-TV film "Merlin." And in June he won a Tony Award for best performance by a leading actor in a musical, for his work on Broadway in Neil Simon and Cy Coleman's "Little Me."
So why should Short do a daily talk show, when the market is so glutted, and there are clearly so many formats in which he excels?
"I think you have to, for me, figure out why you want to do this every day," he says, by way of an answer. "And to me, I think that the main reason is to keep it loose so that at the end of the Friday, someone can up and say, 'Hey, how are your shows?' And you say, 'I don't know. I think Tuesday was OK. Thursday was, I think, pretty good. Wednesday was bad.'"
More importantly, he says, he believes a daily program like his new "Martin Short Show" is "the best medium for comedy.
"I think it's the most forgiving," he says. "It's good to be able to have that freedom to say, 'Hey, if I fail, there's no big deal because I'll try something (new) tomorrow.'"
And in true Short style, he's got one more answer for why he's doing the show: "Two words, sweetie: Balloon mortgage -- and the need to be loved."
Stand-up comics try to stand out on TV
MORE TV NEWS:
Holiday specials help CBS win the week
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.