Steve Martin and Martin Short had a limited amount of time to chat, so it made perfect sense that they offered up so many one-liners in our three-way call this month.
Martin, on their two-man show, “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives,” which comes to Charlotte’s Ovens Auditorium on April 22: “It’s just under two hours. No intermission – except for people walking out.”
Short, trying to decide who he’d cast as Lucky Day in a remake of “¡Three Amigos!” (Martin played him in the 1986 original): “Well, for your role, we need someone really big. How about Louie Anderson?”
Martin, asked what pieces their fans most often claim as favorites: “It depends if they have good taste or not. If they have good taste, they really don’t mention any of our movies.”
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It’s this brand of self-deprecating wit that has made Martin and Short’s show a long-running success. They came up with the idea in 2011, after being asked to interview each other onstage at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal.
Of course, the show has evolved beyond being an excuse for two living comedy legends to ask each other questions and offer each other witty responses.
“It’s kind of like a hip variety show – like we’re hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’ together,” said Short, 67, who met Martin on the set of “¡Three Amigos!” more than three decades ago. “The show just keeps moving along comedically like a locomotive, but it’s also got great music, individual sets by Steve and I, a lot of insane stuff. ... We chat about our lives; there’s a lot of improv there. I mean, it’s a very loose and yet tightly organized show.”
Things you’ll see in the show:
1. Martin, 71, will play the banjo with special musical guest Steep Canyon Rangers, the Grammy-winning bluegrass band from Brevard. They’ve collaborated routinely over the years, dating back to 2009. In fact, Martin and the Rangers teamed up to open uptown’s then-sparkling-new Knight Theater in October 2009, just five months after they first joined forces at an L.A. benefit concert. Said Martin of the Charlotte show: “We’re giving the Rangers an extra song because we’re playing in North Carolina.”
2. Jiminy Glick. The celebrity interviewer – one of Short’s most famous creations – will show up to tell jokes about Hollywood’s elite.
3. Short will run through several costume changes. In a recent show, he appeared in a “nude” suit, a cowgirl outfit and at one point impersonated bagpipes (sounds like something we’ll have to see to believe). Martin, meanwhile, is happy keeping a traditional suit and tie on the whole time. “I change my socks,” he quipped.
4. A few lucky audience members will get a chance to play dress-up. “We bring three people on the stage,” Short said, “and turn them into the Three Amigos.”
Things you probably won’t see:
1. “Saturday Night Live” characters like Short’s Ed Grimley and Martin’s King Tut. “We have a little video package,” Martin said, “that reminds people of bits we’ve done in the past.” Beyond that, it’s more of a tell-don’t-show situation: During the conversational portion of their act, you’ll likely hear funny stories about creating and playing their most popular characters, but they won’t break out the hair gel or the pharaoh garb.
2. The Jiminy Glick fat suit. It just takes too much time to put it (and the makeup) on. That said, the way Short and Martin handle the absence of the costume – yes, as a team – is wildly creative.
3. Political humor. Not very much, at least. “The agenda’s never to alienate half your audience with one political bent, you know?” Short said.
4. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to get backstage for a meet-and-greet, the answer is no: The three of you can’t all pose for a photo together wearing the big Three Amigos hats. “We’re not that desperate yet,” Martin said. “But give us a year.”
Steve Martin and Martin Short: ‘An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives’
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22.
Where: Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd.
Details: 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.
You can also see them together in four film comedies: 1986’s “¡Three Amigos!” (along with Chevy Chase); two “Father of the Bride” films (made in 1991 and 1995); and 2004’s “Jiminy Glick in Lalawood.” You can also hear them in the 1998 animated drama “The Prince of Egypt” – they loaned their voices to comic-relief characters Hotep and Huy.