I’m admittedly not a big reader, but I am in the middle of and do love Martin Short’s autobiography. I wanted to share a couple of stories.
The first is about Mike Nichols, who, before becoming the director of classics like The Graduate and The Birdcage, was a comedy performer, and Martin’s childhood idol:
Mike is the one person, of all the many famous figures I’ve met, of whom I’m still in awe when I’m with him. I keep a vintage vinyl LP of his comedy album in my office as a kind of inspirational talisman – and yet I actually have Mike Nichol’s email address! In fact, whenever I get an email from Mike, I want to print it out and have it framed. He’s as funny in person as he was on TV in the 1960s, too. A few years ago, David Geffen invited us both onto his spectacular yacht, and as we sat down to dinner, I took in the sight of all David’s guests – each one famous and accomplished – and decided to initiate a game called “Who Has Met Whom?” Surely at least one member of this crowd had met just about any great twentieth-century figure you could think of. “Did anyone here ever meet Eleanor Roosevelt?” Warren Beatty responded, “Actually, I met Eleanor Roosevelt.” From the far end of the table, Mike called out, “Did you bang her?”The second story occurred just after Martin was cast by Lorne Michael in The Three Amigos:
The very day after meeting with Lorne, I was back in LA, headed to Steve Martin’s house in Beverly Hills to meet him and pick up the script. I have this philosophy around people I don’t know but am excited to meet that I call “immediate intimacy”. I do an impersonation of someone who is relaxed, loose, and not at all intimidated, in the hope that this impersonation will ultimately become reality. I had to – I was intimidated by Steve. I was this mere sketch-comedy guy, and he was Steve Martin, the most innovative standup comic of the 1970s, who had done so many great films. I was immediately overwhelmed upon arriving at Steve’s house. In one direction, there was a Picasso, in another an Edward Hopper. That’s when I blurted out, “How did you get so rich? Because I’ve seen the work.”