Friday, August 26, 2016
Martin Short is a Gas at Harvey School Q&A
May 11, 2015
On Friday Night, the Harvey School presented the fourth in its series of celebrity Q&As. Paul Shaffer providing the Qs, Martin Short let fly, and the audience didn’t come down until the Canadian born talent ran out of rocket fuel.
He went right to work on Shaffer. “I go way back with Paul,” said Short as he paraded the stage with the moderator manning the piano. “I knew him before his head was circumcised. He was also there when my children were conceived. I know because I was out of town making a movie.”
The audience wasn’t safe either. “You look great for a guy who has really let himself go,” Short directed a playful jibe to a front row viewer.
Stargazing wasn’t out either. “Look, Glen Close is here,” he beamed.
And before embarking on the “chat portion” of the evening, Short temporarily ended his jet stream of comedy consciousness by commenting on how fortunate he was to grow up in a house full of love. “We lived with a cousin who put out,” Short got naughty.
Not trying to keep up, Shaffer began the discussion. “Why write the memoir now?”
“There comes a time when you realize it’s time to open up about your journey,” Short said of “I Must Say”.
But obviously Short couldn’t play the straight man very long. No need for a segue, he launched into a recent story where he was thrown off by having to directly follow Tony Bennett in a Canadian variety show. Muffing the lyrics, Short escaped to the bathroom afterwards where Bennett appeared at the same time.
The hope was that the legendary singer would have some pearl of wisdom to ease the failure. “You froze pretty good kid,” Short deadpanned the bursting of his bubble.
Playing off the beat, Shaffer again put real life in play. “How do you keep your life in balance,” The Late Show bandleader asked.
Short then describe a period in his life where he was three months without work. “I was 28, and I just sat by the phone,” he remembers.
Finally getting a part, he recalled wanting the time back. So he began a process in which he graded himself in all the areas of his life – family, friends, fun, learning, money, career, etc.
“This way if one area was coming up short an overall grade brought me balance, and I still do this,” he revealed.
“That works,” Shaffer queried back.
“I’m here. I’m at the Harvey School,” the comedian’s sarcasm didn’t short the school.
But Short could only resist Glenn Close and the chance to song and dance for so long. Getting her out of her seat, they did a version of Some Enchanted Evening. Waltzing her around, Short bellowed, “Some enchanted evening, you will realize this chick is for you/even though she is a Jew.”
Letting Close escape to her seat, Short eventually got into his Jiminy Glick get up and put Harvey School Headmaster Barry Fenstermacher on the spot. “You’re a very handsome man, I say 20% more plastic surgery and then stop,” said Glick.
Leaving Fenstermacher mostly gasping, Short put the headmaster out of his misery. “Based on this interview, how have you held this job so long?”
Eventually returning to his street clothes, a question from the audience brought poignancy to his 38 years with his late wife, while not forgetting the normal dose of humor. “People ask me how I was able to stay happily married for so long… She filled my needs, and I had a personal assistant for hers,” he joked.
On the other hand, he recalled that he was in the same place at 20 and 60. “Both my parents had died by 20 and my wife at 60. So I had to figure out how to get happy again,” he revealed. “The book helped me with that.”
Keeping the conversation upbeat, Short closed with a joke. “Remember it’s better to have loved a short than to have never loved a tall,” Short let the audience down gently and made for the curtain.