My favorite thing featuring comic actor Martin Short was not a sketch comedy or a movie. It was on something called The Associates.
The writer Ken Levine recently answered a question on his blog. The inquiry was about “sitcoms that lasted a single season that nobody watched that, in your estimation, showcased a certain or unusual style of humor that gave it a little something atmosphere-wise that made them little lost gems?” Levine included “THE ASSOCIATES created by the TAXI team” that starred a young Martin Short as “a standout in the late ‘70s.”
That was my recollection too, but I hadn’t actually SEEN it since that single 13-episode 1979-1980 season. The IMBD describes it. “Three young law school graduates who had just joined the prestigious firm of Bass and Marshall as associates… Tucker [Martin Short] was a Midwesterner slightly out of step with his Ivy League Colleagues, a little naive but very charming.
“Daughter of a poor New York family, Leslie [Alley Mills, Orson Bean’s widow]… felt for the oppressed… Sara [Shelley Smith] was a Boston blueblood, bright as well as sexy.” The “formidable but slightly dotty Senior Partner Emerson Marshall” was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White. The “dedicated junior partner Eliot Streeter” who wanted “to take over the firm” was future Murphy Brown star Joe Regalbuto.
After that, Martin Short co-starred on the SCTV network in 1982-1983, with folks such as John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, and Andrea Martin. Then he appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1984-1985. This was an unusual move because SNL tended to pick unknowns, but that season, in addition to Short, the show featured Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest.
He went on to do movies such as the Three Amigos and Father of the Bride. But most recently, I know him best as the voice of the Cat in the Hat cartoon that was on PBS.
Presently, he’s been performing live with Steve Martin. They’d make a great JEOPARDY! “Before and After” clue. “This frequent SNL ‘wild and crazy’ host gigs with an SCTV and SNL star.” Who is Steve Martin Short? Short has a 2014 autobiography, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend.
Martin Short turns 70 on March 26.