A party with Marty in Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

A party with Marty in Beaver Creek

Brenda Himelfarb
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyMartin Short

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” The American Psychiatric Association describes those who come to Beaver Creek, Colorado with multiple personalities as “those who may exhibit different behaviors, mannerisms and personalities and might not remember what transpired when another personality was in control.”

This, of course, pertains to the world of medicine.

In the world of comedy, a comedic chameleon who displays dozens of hilarious characters and on-the-mark, zany impressions is simply described as Martin Short.

Since the 1970s, Short, a Canadian, has created memorable personalities that have left audiences wanting more each time. He worked in cabarets and theater before joining Toronto’s Second City and then “SCTV Comedy Network.” But it was his work on NBC’s, “Saturday Night Live” that brought him instant fame.

Just by facial expressions or the way he carries himself, Short can literally mutate into one of a dozen characters, be it Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers, Jr., Nathan Thurm or, perhaps, Jiminy Glick, the fictitious Hollywood legend and celebrity interviewer from “The Martin Short Show.” Then there are his precise impersonations of real-life celebrities like Jerry Lewis and Elizabeth Taylor, to name a few. Short’s skills are boundless.

Ask Short who his favorite character might be, and he won’t commit.

“It’s so hard. It’s like asking Angelina Jolie what country she would like to adopt from,” he quipped. “The characters are all part of me, in a way, and observed on some level of behavior. I have to memorize some of what I might have a character say, as it’s not a natural way of speaking for me.

“Like this character I wrote, Nathan Thurm, a very offensive lawyer. His speech was all rhythms. He would say, ‘I know that. Don’t you think I know that?’ Ed Grimley and Jiminy Glick, on the other hand, are almost all improvised.”

“In fact,” Short continued, “When I would do my show, ‘Prime-Time Glick,’ and then view the play-back, I was shocked at some of the expressions that Jiminy would use in improvising and found that he would use expressions I would never use in my life. I didn’t even realize I even saying some of what he said.”

Short has enjoyed an eclectic career on stage and screen. He has received many awards, including a 1999 Tony Award for best actor in a musical for the Broadway production of “Little Me;” seven Emmy nominations for “The Martin Short Show;” and one for “Primetime Glick.”

In 1994, he was awarded the Order of Canada, the equivalent to British knighthood, for his contribution to Canadian culture.

It is the variety of performing, however, that Short relishes most.

“Canadians are like the British,” he said with a laugh. “There isn’t one medium. It’s more like ‘Do I bring a suit or not?’

“When I’m away from the stage too long, I get a hankering for the stage. And when I’m on the stage too long, I get a hankering to do something in a smaller situation or in front of the camera.

“I do love performing live. It’s like working out for me.”

It’s clear, by Short’s performances, that it all comes so naturally. For him, comedy is about looseness and style, not the jokes.

“I don’t get nervous for a couple of reasons,” he said. “In comedy, we don’t want to see someone nervous. With Bill Maher, for instance, it’s not that every joke is hitting that matters, it’s his general cockiness and attitude that we’re so into.

“So if someone is nervous or off we’re not even listening to his jokes anymore. Rather, we’re thinking, ‘Geez, he doesn’t seem loose.’

“Also, I don’t do this because I’m neurotic,” he continued. “I’m actually a very confident person. And the admiration of strangers is not anything that has fueled me. I would know if the show wasn’t good. But if I think something is funny and the audience doesn’t respond, I don’t look in the mirror and think, ‘I’m not worthy.’ I think they just didn’t get it.”

What audiences have “gotten” from Short over the years, is an array of memorable characters. Those who saw the 1991 remake of “Father of the Bride” can’t forget his side-splitting, scene-stealing performance as Franck Eggelhoffer, the prissy, European wedding planner.

Then there’s the priceless skit with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. interviewing Short’s “Nathan Thurm” character about global warming. And let’s not forget the classic “Saturday Night Live” synchronized swimming piece with, fellow comedian, Harry Shearer. Fortunately, many of these jewels can be found on youtube.com.

Who: Comedian Martin Short performs “If I’d Saved, I Wouldn’t Be Here”

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $65

More information: Call 888-920-2787 or visit http://www.vilarpac.org

E-mail comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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