As an avid fan of the TV medical show Quincy M.E., Martin Short thought he might like to become a doctor.
“But then I realized that a wish to be like Quincy was not enough to get me to the next level. I realized you had to want this more than anything else, so I switched my ambition to social work, which allowed me more time to do things I liked other than just studying,” he explained.
And for Short, one of those things was an involvement in the theater, “although being a Canadian and living Hamilton, Ontario, wasn’t like I lived in Manhattan and just down the street was Broadway,” said Short, who will be appearing at the Mann Music Center for the Performing Arts, along with Marvin Hamlisch and Brian Stokes Mitchell, on July 10.
But no matter where he lived, his talent finally won out and he began his rise to fame.
Beginning his career on Canada’s SCTV Comedy Network, where his work garnered an Emmy Award, Short soon proved himself as a comedic chameleon with a host of hilarious impressions that eventually brought him to the attention of the producers of Saturday Night Live.
After only one season on SNL, Short, 61, was instantly recognized for his standout performances of such characters as Ed Grimly, Jackie Rogers Jr., legendary songwriter Irvin Cohen and lawyer Nathan Thurm.
“Sometimes the characters come out of necessity, and sometimes they come out of a sketch that I’ve tried,” Short explained. “For example, Ed Grimly was a stage character I did on Second City about two people trying out for the same job. One was an over-qualified woman, the other an under-qualified man who was Ed.”
After SNL, Short crossed over to feature film work and made his big-screen debut in Three Amigos, working alongside SNL alumni Chevy Chase and Steve Martin. Over the years, he’s continued to land plum comedic roles in such theatrical releases as Inner Space, Three Fugitives, Clifford and Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, among others. But perhaps his most memorable role was that of the scene-stealing Franck, the wedding planner in Father of the Bride, the character, Short said, people most often ask him to do.
While many might think of Short primarily as a comedian, he also has done dramatic roles, such as being a regular on the FX television series Damages, and he prefers to think of himself as an all-around entertainer.
A veteran of theater in Canada and on Broadway, Short has received accolades for his varied work onstage, earning a Tony Award nomination, a Theatre World Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award.
Not limiting himself to acting, Short has also written, produced and starred in three highly acclaimed TV comedy specials. And for his incredible career, Short has been recognized by his Canadian homeland. In 1994, he was awarded the Order of Canada (the Canadian equivalent of British knighthood) for his contribution to Canadian culture, and he was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame in June 2000.
“I will tell you honestly I like everything I do,” Short said. “I like the eclectic nature of what I do. At the end of the year I can say I did this, wrote this, appeared in this, did some thirty concerts, also appeared in Damages, Weeds, and so on.
“You know, Canadians are much like the British. They don‘t define themselves. They’re just actors. And that‘s how I see it. That’s the way I’ve always done it,” he said. “Whether it’s returning to the stage, making a movie or doing a string of concerts, to me it’s all like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes.” ••
For times and ticket information, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.