He is known as one of the funniest, nicest and most respected people in Hollywood.
Martin Short will perform bits from his best-loved characters — think the nerdy Ed Grimley, attorney Nathan Thurm, entertainer Jackie Rogers and the eccentric Jiminy Glick — when he hits the boards Friday and Saturday nights at the Tulalip Resort Casino.
Comedy is big in the Northwest (could it be the rain?), and especially so at Tulalip, which regularly hosts many well-known comedians. Short has come to the right place. His one-man vaudevillian-style shows here are nearly sold out. Actually, if you don’t have your ticket by now, you might be out of luck. Be sure to check anyway.
A little Short background for those who aren’t super fans:
Short is 67. He is Canadian. In fact he is revered in his home country, where the government issued a stamp and a coin in his honor.
Short, who calls himself a satirist, went to school to be a social worker, but after he performed in a 1972 Toronto, Ontario, production of “Godspell,” it was all over. The cast of that musical (and his future Second City castmates) included Dave Thomas, Gildna Radner, Eugene Levy, music director Paul Shaffer, Andrea Martin and Short’s future wife, Nancy Dolman.
Among Short’s career highlights are his Tony award for best actor in a musical for his work in the 1998 revival of Neil Simon’s “Little Me.” He also has Emmy awards, primarily for Second City TV, and his Film Independent Spirit Award for “Inherent Vice.”
Praise for his work on “Saturday Night Live” and Comedy Central is legion, his “Martin Short Show” was well-loved as was the more recent “Maya and Marty Show” with Maya Rudolph. And he now tours semi-regularly with fellow funnyman Steve Martin.
Short had a lot of fun with the movies “Three Amigos,” “Frankenweenie” and “Mars Attacks!” But for many women now in their 30s and 40s, the favorite Martin Short movies are “Father of the Bride” and its sequel.
In a recent telephone interview with Short, I asked if it bothered him that “Father of the Bride” (in which he plays Franck the wedding planner) was such a small piece of his career, but has so many fans.
“It’s lovely that people loved those films,” Short said. “It’s great to do movies that people remember. My son Oliver’s favorite is Jimmy Stewart in ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.’
“One time an interviewer asked me if I had a least favorite movie and I answered. The next day a 13-year-old boy came up to me in the airport and said he loved that least favorite movie. Lesson learned. I let fans tell me what they loved.”
Likewise, Short can’t name a favorite character.
“Those roles are like your kids,” he said. “You create them and enjoy doing them as often as you can.”
However, Short will admit that his Tony award is special.
“The thing is that film work is collaborative,” he said. “But on stage, you must depend on yourself. It’s all you.”
“Saturday Night Live” was fun for its spontaneity, too, Short said.
“I had so much fun at 30 Rock (30 Rockefeller Plaza, home of the NBC TV studios). It was like an insane dorm.”
The show at Tulalip will have the sketch comedy feel of “SNL,” he said.
“People can expect a Party with Marty,” he said. “We’ll have a surprise guest, we’ll have a few video clips and just a lot of fun.”
Short said he enjoys doing live shows.
“The longer you don’t perform in front of an audience, the more chance you have of becoming rusty,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 45 years now. That’s a long time. I’m lucky enough that nobody has told me to stop.”
I asked Short about his reputation as a pleasant guy.
“It’s as simple as this: Generally, if you treat others well, they will treat you well in return and that’s a fantastic atmosphere in which to create,” he said. “I work best when I am having fun. The party must continue.”