When a friend told me that Steve Martin was going out on a minitour with Martin Short I immediately searched for tickets and had my heart broken. The half-dozen or so dates were all pretty far away and most importantly they were all sold out.
Steve Martin featured very prominently on my need-to-see-‘em list. Sure, I had seen him play banjo with the Steep Canyon Rangers (and Edie Brickell), where he even told a few jokes but there was just something about the man; if he was doing a standup tour I just had to see it. I mean The Jerk is just one of the funniest movies ever, then there is Roxanne, All Of Me, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, his cameo in the original Muppet Movie and so much more. The guy is legend and I was not about to let this life of mine go by without witnessing his legendariness, if at all possible.
Imagine my glee when they dropped a bunch more dates, including an engagement at Casino Rama on April 9th, 2016!
The fact that Casino Rama ranks near the bottom of my favourite venues had no impact on my decision; I was going and that was that. I booked a room on points as far from the casino as I could muster and on April 9th, 2016 I drove more than six hours to get there.
It’s funny that Martin Short wasn’t on my radar at all; I’m pretty familiar with his work going all the way back to my incessant viewing of SCTV as a kid. And still I was shocked when he unquestionably stole the show.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. When I think about it the stuff I most admire about Steve Martin is his off-the-wall stuff like The Great Flydini and the Forgetful Waiter. And while it was a joy and a treat to see such comic genius in the flesh, he was waxen next to the dynamo that was Martin Short.
Short was quick, witty, smart, and his physical comedy was off the hook. He came out early in the set wearing a naked suit and had us rolling in the aisles with his gazelle-like tromps across the stage. Steve Martin watched and laughed along with the rest of us. What else could the white-haired elder do in the face of such manic energy? Other than showing off his banjo chops with a mid-show miniset alongside his Steep Canyon brethren and donning his costume for a Three Amigos semi-reunion Steve Martin kept to his obvious role of sideman for the evening.
Overall it was a really good time and though in retrospect it might not have been really worth the drive and the hype it was something I just had to see for myself. So in that way I suppose it was unquestionably worth it.