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L E’s Stories – “Excuse Me + Turtle Back Rider + King Tut + Wild And Crazy Guy + Banjo Boy Provides Pure Comedic Genius” – A Salute To Steve Martin

In writing this story today…..it brings me great joy because I am showcasing one of the truly talented entertainers in our expansive vintage video museum….for this man could do it all…..with the ability to fill large stadium for his stand-up comedy routine….to being a huge star on the silver screen, while winning an Academy Award….to being a successful filmmaker…..to winning a Grammy Award for his music….while selling several platinum comedy albums…..as we are fortunate to have such a large selection of video content that provides evidence to the incredible talents of Steve Martin.                               

Comedy – 1996 – The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson – Featuring Steve Martin As “The Great Flydini” Magic Act

 

Steve Martin is an American actor, comedian, author, filmmaker, and musician…..who  came into the “public eye” notice in the 1960’s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour….and later as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show.  In the 1970’s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980’s, having branched away from comedy, Martin became a successful actor….as well as an author, playwright, pianist, and banjo player….while eventually earning Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards, among other honors.  In 2004,  Comedy Central ranked Martin at 6th place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics…..plus he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award at the Academy’s 5th Annual Governors Awards in 2013.

 

Comedy – 1968 – The Smothers Brothers Show – Featuring Comedian Steve Martin

While he has played banjo since an early age….and included music in his comedy routines from the beginning of his professional career…,when he has increasingly dedicated his career to music since the 2000’s….while acting less and spending much of his professional life playing banjo….as well as recording, and touring with various  bluegrass acts, including Earl Scruggs, with whom he won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2002. He released his first solo music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, in 2009….for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.

 

Comedy – 1973 – The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson – With Steve Martin And His Comedy Routine For Dogs

In 1967, his former girlfriend Nina Goldblatt, a dancer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, helped Martin land a writing job with the show by submitting his work to head writer Mason Williams.  Williams initially paid Martin out of his own pocket. Along with the other writers for the show, Martin won an Emmy Award.  in 1969 at the age of twenty-three. He wrote for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Martin’s first television appearance was on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968….which caused him to say “I appeared on The Virginia Graham Show, circa 1970….and I looked grotesque…..with a hairdo like a helmet….which I blow-dried to a puffy bouffant….for reasons I no longer understand…..as I wore a frock coat and a silk shirt…..and my delivery was slow and self-aware….while I had absolutely no authority…..then after reviewing the show, I was depressed for a week.

 

Comedy – 1981 – Johnny Cash Holiday Special Show – With Comedian Steve Martin

During these years his roommates included Gary Mule Deer and Michael Johnson. Martin opened for musical groups such as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band….who returned the favor by appearing in his 1980 television special All Commercials….plus The Carpenters and Toto. He appeared at The Boarding House, among other venues. He continued to write while earning an Emmy nomination for his work on Van Dyke and Company in 1976.                                                                                                                                                   

Music & Comedy – 1986 – Little Shop Of Horrors “Dentist Song” With Steve Martin

 

In the mid-1970’s, Martin made frequent appearances as a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson….The Gong Show….HBO’s On Location….The Muppet Show….and NBC’s  Saturday Night Live (SNL)….as SNL‘s audience jumped by a million viewers when he made guest appearances….which made him one of the show’s most successful hosts…..while appearing on twenty-seven Saturday Night Live shows and guest-hosted fifteen times….which is 2nd all-time only to Alec Baldwin….who has hosted seventeen times as of February 2017. On the show, Martin popularized the “air quotes” gesture. While on the show, Martin grew close to several cast members, including Gilda Radner….when on the night she died of ovarian cancer, a visibly shaken Martin hosted SNL and featured footage of himself and Radner together in a 1978 sketch.                                                                                           

Comedy – 1978 – Steve Martin Performs “Billy Jean Dance” By Michael Jackson

 

Martin’s television appearances in the 1970’s led to the release of comedy albums that went platinum….as the track “Excuse Me” on his first album, Let’s Get Small in 1977, helped establish a national catch phrase.  His next album, A Wild and Crazy Guy in 1978, was an even bigger success….after reaching the # 2 spot on the U.S. sales chart….while selling over a million copies…..and “Just a wild and crazy guy” became another of Martin’s known catch phrases…..as the album featured a character based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches in which Martin and Dan Aykroyd played the Festrunk Brothers; Yortuk and Georgi…,who were bumbling Czechoslovak would-be playboys. The album ends with the song “King Tut”….which was sung and written by Martin and backed by the “Toot Uncommons”….who were members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It was later released as a single, reaching # 17 on the U.S. charts in 1978…..and selling over a million copies.  The song came out during the King Tut craze that accompanied the popular traveling exhibit of the Egyptian king’s tomb artifacts. Both albums won Grammys for Best Comedy Recording in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Martin performed “King Tut” on the April 22, 1978, SNL program.                                                                                                                                                          

Comedy – 1975 – The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson – Featuring Comedian Steve Martin

 

On his comedy albums, Martin’s stand-up is self-referential and sometimes self-mocking. It mixes philosophical riffs with sudden spurts of “happy feet”, banjo playing with balloon depictions of concepts like venereal disease and the “controversial” kitten juggling….for he is a master juggler and the “kittens” were stuffed animals. His style is off-kilter and ironic which sometimes pokes fun at stand-up comedy traditions, such as Martin opening his act (from A Wild and Crazy Guy) by saying….“I think there’s nothing better for a person to come up and do the same thing over and over for two weeks. This is what I enjoy, so I’m going to do the same thing over and over and over […] I’m going to do the same joke over and over in the same show, it’ll be like a new thing.”….or, “Hello, I’m Steve Martin, and I’ll be out here in a minute.”  In one comedy routine, used on the Comedy Is Not Pretty! album, Martin claimed that his real name was “Gern Blanston” ….as this riff took on a life of its own by virtue of the fact that there is a Gern Blanston website…..and for a time a rock band took the moniker as its name. Soon thereafter, Steve Martin was drawing large enough audiences that he required a full sized stadium…. when he found himself concerned about his visibility in venues on such a large scale….so, that is when he began to wear a distinctive three-piece white suit….which  became a trademark for his act.                                                          

Comedy – 1984 – Stand Up Comedy Routine – Steve Martin Live In Concert

                                                                                                                                                                                  Martin stopped doing stand-up comedy in 1981 to concentrate on movies and did not return for thirty-five years.  About this decision, he stated….“My act was conceptual. Once the concept was stated, and everybody understood it, it was done. … It was about coming to the end of the road. There was no way to live on in that persona. I had to take that fabulous luck of not being remembered as that, exclusively. You know, I didn’t announce that I was stopping. I just stopped.”                                                                                     

Comedy – 1979 – Diving Competition Featuring USA Steve Martin Taking Gold Medal

 

In 2016, Martin made a rare return to comedy, opening for Jerry Seinfeld…..when he performed a ten-minute routine before turning the stage over to Seinfeld. Later in 2016 he returned to stand-up comedy, staging a national tour with Martin Short and the Steep Canyon Rangers….which yielded a 2018 Netflix comedy special, Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. By the end of the 1970’s, Martin had developed the kind of following normally reserved for rock stars….with his tour appearances typically occurring at sold-out arenas filled with tens of thousands of screaming fans….but unknown to his audience, stand-up comedy was “just an accident” for him….cuz his real goal was to get into film.                                                                                                                                                      

Comedy – 1968 – The Dating Game Show – Featuring Comedian Steve Martin

Martin had a small role in the 1972 film Another Nice Mess…..which was followed by his first substantial film appearance was in a short titled The Absent-Minded Waiter in 1977 ….as the seven-minute-long film….which also featuring Buck Henry and Teri Garr, was written by and starred Martin…..which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Short Film, Live Action. He made his first significant feature film appearance in the musical Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band….where he sang The Beatles’ “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”…..then In 1979, Martin starred in the comedy film The Jerk….which was  directed by Carl Reiner and written by Martin, Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb. The film was a huge success, grossing over $100 million on a budget of approximately $4 million.                                                     

Music – 2014 – Special – Steve Martin Performs His Grammy Winning Bluegrass Song “The Crow”

 

Stanley Kubrick met with him to discuss the possibility of Martin starring in a screwball comedy version of Traumnovelle….but Kubrick later changed his approach to the material, the result of which was 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut.  Martin was executive producer for Domestic Life….which was a prime-time television series starring friend Martin Mull….  plus, a late-night series called Twilight Theater…..wherein It emboldened Martin to try his hand at his first serious film, Pennies from Heaven in 1981….which was based on the 1978 BBC serial by Dennis Potter…..as he was anxious to perform in the movie because of his desire to avoid being typecast. To prepare for that film, Martin took acting lessons from director Herbert Ross and spent months learning how to tap dance. The film was a financial failure; Martin’s comment at the time was “I don’t know what to blame, other than it’s me and not a comedy.”                  

Comedy – 1986 – A Holiday Wish At Christmas From Steve Martin

 

Martin was in three more Carl Reiner-directed comedies after The Jerk….including Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid in 1982, The Man with Two Brains in 1983 and All of Me in 1984, which was his most critically acclaimed performance up to that point.  In 1986, Martin joined fellow Saturday Night Live veterans Martin Short and Chevy Chase in ¡Three Amigos!, directed by John Landis, and written by Martin, Lorne Michaels and singer-songwriter Randy Newman.  In 1986, Martin was in the movie musical film version of the hit Off-Broadway play Little Shop of Horrors….which was based on a famous B-movie  while playing the sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello. The film was the first of three films teaming Martin with Rick Moranis.  In 1987, Martin joined comedian John Candy in the John Hughes movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles….plus, that same year in  Roxanne….as the film adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, which Martin co-wrote, won him a Writers Guild of America Award. It also garnered recognition from Hollywood and the public that he was more than a comedian. In 1988, he performed in the Frank Oz film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels alongside Michael Caine.  Also in 1988, he appeared at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in a revival of Waiting for Godot directed by Mike Nichols…..as he played Vladimir, with Robin Williams as Estragon and Bill Irwin as Lucky.                                                                                        

Comedy – 1983 – Special – Steve Martin In “Ballet Parking” + “The Skier” + “Camping In The Woods”

 

Martin starred in the Ron Howard film Parenthood, with Rick Moranis in 1989. He later re-teamed with Moranis in the Mafia comedy My Blue Heaven in 1990.  In 1991, Martin starred in and wrote L.A. Story….which was a romantic comedy in which the female lead was played by his then-wife Victoria Tennant. Martin also appeared in Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon….in which he played the tightly wound Hollywood film producer, Davis, who was recovering from a traumatic robbery that left him injured….which was a more serious role for him. Martin also starred in a remake of the comedy Father of the Bride in 1991….which was followed by a sequel in 1995….and in the 1992 comedy  Housesitter, with Goldie Hawn and Dana Delany. In 1994, he starred in A Simple Twist of Fate; a film adaptation of Silas Marner.  In David Mamet’s 1997 thriller The Spanish Prisoner, Martin played a darker role as a wealthy stranger who takes a suspicious interest in the work of a young businessman (Campbell Scott). He went on to star with Eddie Murphy in the 1999 comedy Bowfinger, which Martin also wrote.

 

Movie – 1970 to 2010 – Special Feature – Clips From Steve Martin’s Top 10 Movie Roles

 

In 1998, Martin guest starred with U2 in the 200th episode of The Simpsons titled “Trash of the Titans”…..while providing the voice for sanitation commissioner Ray Patterson.  In 1999, Martin and Hawn starred in a remake of the 1970 Neil Simon comedy, The Out-of-Towners.  By 2003, Martin ranked 4th on the box office stars list, after starring in Bringing Down The House and Cheaper by the Dozen….as each earned over $130 million at U.S. theaters. That same year, he also played the villainous Mr. Chairman in the animation/live action blend, Looney Tunes: Back in Action.                                                                               

Music – 2010 – Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers At Jazz Fest Playing “The Orange Blossom Special” + “King Tut”

 

In 2005, Martin wrote and starred in Shopgirl, based on his own novella (2000)….and starred in Cheaper by the Dozen 2…..then in 2006, he starred in the box office hit The Pink Panther….as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau….and then he reprised the role in 2009’s The Pink Panther 2…..as these two films combined to grossed over $230 million at the box office. In Baby Mama in 2008, Martin played the founder of a health food company….then in It’s Complicated in 2009, he played opposite Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin….when in a 2009 article in The Guardian….as Martin was listed as one of the best actors never to receive an Oscar nomination.  In 2011, he appeared with Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and JoBeth Williams in the birdwatching comedy The Big Year. After a three-year hiatus, Martin returned in 2015 when he voiced a role in the animated film Home. In 2016, he played a supporting role in the war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.                                                                                                                      

Comedy – 2017 – The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon – Featuring Steve Martin + Martin Short Remembering Their Favorite Tonight Show Moments

 

Throughout the 1990’s, Martin wrote various pieces for The New Yorker. In 2002, he adapted the Carl Sternheim play The Underpants….which ran Off Broadway at Classic Stage Company….and in 2008 co-wrote and produced Traitor, starring Don Cheadle. He has also written the novellas Shopgirl (2000) and The Pleasure of My Company (2003), both more wry in tone than raucous…..with a story of a 28-year-old woman behind the glove counter at the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills, Shopgirl  was  made into a film starring Martin and Claire Danes…..as the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2005….and was featured at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival before going into limited release in the US.  In 2007, he published a memoir, Born Standing Up, which Time magazine named as one of the Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2007….while ranking it at # 6….and praising it as “a funny, moving, surprisingly frank memoir.”  In 2010, he published the novel An Object of Beauty.                                                                                                                                                              

Comedy – 1983 – Steve Martin Interviews Richard Pryor – Comedian Like Dueling Banjos With Straight Faces

                                                                                                                                                                              Martin’s play Meteor Shower opened at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in August 2016….and went on to Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre later the same year. The play opened on Broadway at the Booth Theater on November 29, 2017. The cast features Amy Schumer, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Shamos and Keegan-Michael Key, with direction by Jerry Zaks.  Martin wrote the story for the Disney movie Magic Camp….which will be released in 2020.  Beginning in 2019, Martin has collaborated with cartoonist Harry Bliss as a writer for the syndicated comic panel Bliss.                                                                                             

Movie & Comedy – 1979 – Special Clip From “The Jerk” Starring Steve Martin + Bernadette Peters

                                                                                                                                                                                    Martin hosted the Academy Awards solo in 2001 and 2003, and with Alec Baldwin in 2010.  In 2005, Martin co-hosted Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years, marking the park’s anniversary….as Disney continued to run the show until March 2009….which now plays in the lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  A fan of Monty Python, in 1989 Martin hosted the TV special, Parrot Sketch Not Included – 20 Years of Monty Python….  which was the final appearance of all six Python members together.                                         

Comedy – 1978 – Special – Steve Martin Live In Concert

 

Martin first picked up the banjo when he was around 17 years of age….as Martin has stated in several interviews and in his memoir, Born Standing Up, that he used to take 33 rpm bluegrass records and slow them down to 16 rpm and tune his banjo down, so the notes would sound the same. Martin was able to pick out each note and perfect his playing….as he learned how to play the banjo with help from John McEuen….who later joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. McEuen’s brother later managed Martin as well as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band…..as Martin did his stand-up routine opening for the band in the early 1970’s. He had the band play on his hit song “King Tut”, being credited as “The Toot Uncommons” (as in Tutankhamun).                                                                                                                                                            

Comedy – 1978 – Saturday Night Live – Steve Martin Performs “King Tut” With The Toot Uncommons

 

Comedy & Music – 1979 – Steve Martin Live In Concert Performing “King Tut”

 

The banjo was a staple of Martin’s 1970’s stand-up career….and he periodically poked fun at his love for the instrument. On the Comedy Is Not Pretty! album, he included an all-instrumental jam, titled “Drop Thumb Medley”….and played the track on his 1979 concert tour. His final comedy album, The Steve Martin Brothers in 1981 featured one side of Martin’s typical stand-up material….with the other side featuring live performances of Steve playing banjo with a bluegrass band.  In 2001, he played banjo on Earl Scruggs’s remake of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”. The recording was the winner of the 2002 Grammy Award winner for the Best Country Instrumental Performance category in  2002.                                                                          

Music & Comedy – 2005 – Special – Kermit The Frog + Steve Martin In Dueling Banjos

In 2009, Martin released his first all-music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo….with appearances from stars such as Dolly Parton….as the album won the  Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2010.  Martin made his first appearance on The Grand Ole Opry on May 30, 2009. In the American Idol season eight finals, he performed alongside Michael Sarver and Megan Joy in the song “Pretty Flowers”.  In June, Martin played banjo along with the Steep Canyon Rangers on A Prairie Home Companion….which began a two-month U.S. tour with the Rangers in September….which included appearances at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, Carnegie Hall and  Benaroya Hall in Seattle. In November, they went on to play at the Royal Festival Hall in London with support from Mary Black.  In 2010, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers appeared at the New Orleans Jazzfest, Merlefest Bluegrass Festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, at Bonnaroo Music Festival, at the ROMP Bluegrass Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, at the Red Butte Garden Concert series and on the BBC’s Later… with Jools Holland Martin performed “Jubilation Day” with the Steep Canyon Rangers on The Colbert Report in March 2011, on Conan in May 2011 and on BBC’s The One Show on July  2011.  Martin performed a song he wrote called “Me and Paul Revere” in addition to two other songs on the lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, at the “Capitol Fourth Celebration” on July 4, 2011. In 2011, Martin also narrated and appeared in the PBS documentary “Give me the Banjo” chronicling the history of the banjo in America.                                                                                                                                              

Comedy – 2019 – The Tucker Carlson Show – With Steve Martin As Roger Stone

 

Simply put, the videos provided in this story herewith provide ample evidence of the many talents of the masterful entertainer Steve Martin…..as this story justifies our opinion that he is truly one of the most talented artist to ever grace the thousands of videos posted in our entire ImaSportsphile video museum…. and we are “tickled pink” to have so much of his content posted herewith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Has Come for You, a collaboration album with Edie Brickell, was released in April 2013….as the two made musical guest appearances on talk shows such as The View and Late Show with David Letterman, to promote the album…..when the title track won the Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song Starting in May 2013, he began a tour with the Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie Brickell throughout the United States. In 2015, Brickell and Martin released So Familiar as the second installment of their partnership….which was inspired by Love has Come for You….then Martin and Brickell collaborated on his first musical, Bright Star…..which was set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1945–46, with flashbacks to 1923. The musical debuted on Broadway on March 24, 2016….then in 2017, Martin and Brickell appeared in the multi award-winning documentary film The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon. Recording live direct-to-disc on the first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s, they performed a version of “The Coo Coo Bird”….which was a traditional song that Martin learned from the 1960’s folk music group The Holy Modal Rounders. The song was featured on the film soundtrack, Music from The American Epic Sessions released on June 9, 2017.

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