Northeast Times

Short is quite a character

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.” ••

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