Actor Martin Short turns 70

The Associates

Martin ShortMy 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.

Is it as good as I remember? Do any of you recall it? Here are episodes one and two and three and four and five, at least for now.


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.

John Belushi would have turned 70

Saturday Night Live was the platform from which John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd launched the Blues Brothers.

John Belushi.Rolling StoneSince John Belushi (January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) was only 33 when he died, he’s been gone longer than he was alive.

I watched Saturday Night Live religiously for the first quarter century. While that original cast was quite gifted, I’ve always balked at the notion that that all the subsequent groups were inadequate by comparison.

It’s unsurprising that Jane Curtin recently talked about sexism at SNL. “‘There were a few people that just out-and-out believe that women should not have been there and they believe that women were not innately funny,’ said the first female anchor of SNL’s ‘Weekend Update’ segment.” And one of those was Belushi.

Nevertheless, in lists of the greatest cast members of all time, Ranker has John Belushi at #3 and Rolling Stone dubbed him #1. “‘Samurai Hitman,’ where Belushi proves he doesn’t need words — just a robe and a sword — to turn a one-joke premise into a savage comic ballet.” He did a great Henry Kissinger, and the Greek owner of the Olympia Café always fascinated me.

SNL was also the platform from which Belushi and Dan Aykroyd launched the Blues Brothers. I suppose I was nervous about their sincerity – I didn’t know at the time that Aykroyd had played with a blues band in Canada – but having such luminaries as guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn from Booker T and the M.G.’s well as Matt “Guitar” Murphy, gave me comfort.

I was pleased when I bought the four-CD set Atlantic Blues in the 1990s and found Hey Bartender by Floyd Dixon and I Don’t Know by Willie Mabon. The Blues Brothers’ covers were surprisingly credible, I discovered.. Now the Blues Brothers MOVIE (1980) was loud and messy and pretty much critic-proof. And it had Aretha, Ray Charles sand Cab Calloway.

Belushi’s previous film, National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) practically invented the raunchy college comedy. What it lacked in script – “food fight!” – it more than made up with energy and panache and a great Elmer Bernstein score. It was wildly successful, and generated spinoffs on all three TV networks, none of which lasted more than a few months.

Animal House was endlessly quotable – “double secret probation.” But never more when Bluto Blutarsky (Belushi) gave the Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? speech.

The other John Belushi movie I saw was Continental Divide (1981), with him playing a tough Chicago reporter who “gets a little too close to the Mob.” For his protection, his editor sends him to Colorado to investigate an eagle researcher (Blair Brown).

I remember enjoying the movie, with Belushi playing against type. Though I recall that the reviews were mixed and the box office tepid, Roger Ebert liked it.

There’s often a desire to play “what if” when performers die tragically young. But it’s a futile task.

August rambling: Porn stars, Playmates, prayer

A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Trump crossing the swamp
After this

Why Fascism Has the Power to Seduce the Broken

John Oliver Confronts Fake Grassroots Movements

In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream

When That “Feel-Good” Story Really Ought To Make You Throw Up

Who Chooses Abortion?

Ken Screven – The Conscience of the Newsroom

The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period

On Prepositions

Joe Biden’s LGBTQ acceptance initiative

Walter Ayres: Pope Francis and the death penalty

Vlogbrothers: How Do Adults Make Friends? and How I Made Friends

Terry Crews Made A PSA With Samantha Bee To Illustrate Why Sexual Assault Jokes Really Aren’t Funny

Treating Golfer’s Elbow And How To Prevent It

The seven original cast members of Saturday Night Live inducted into the Television Hall of Fame

Dick Cavett in the digital age

Alan Alda (and Leonard Maltin) Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

Amy Meselson, Lawyer Who Defended Young Immigrants, Dies at 46

Charlotte Rae, R.I.P.

Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan were 23 when their daughter, Lisa, was born

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

The end of Campbell’s Soup?

Embracing päntsdrunk, the Finnish way of drinking alone in your underwear

The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained

Now I Know: Who You Gonna Call? Not This Ghostbuster and The Blood*, Sweat, and Tears of English Rugby Players and Why You Can’t Visit Liberty’s Torch and Why the National Animal of Scotland is… Wait, Really?

Players from Sesame Street read great lines from the movies

Christopher Lee and Jane Seymour


A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Week of Corruption Scandals: A Closer Look

Why Betsy DeVos shuns the American flag on her 40-foot yacht


Mike Pence – Holy Terror and has drastically lowered his moral standard for a President

John Oliver: the next issue of Stupid Watergate

How ICE was radicalized

How the regime misled the public on poverty

EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing

The Quislings of American Collapse

The Constitutional Con

His Foreign Policy Held Back by Struggle to Grasp Time Zones, Maps

Boston Globe Calls For A Nationwide Response To Attacks On The Press


The anthem of the Republic of Tyva in the Russian Federation

Ohio – John Batiste, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr

Vasily Kalinnikov – Bylina, an overture

“Africa” le Toto as Gaeilge

Summer Wind- Willie Nelson

I greet my country -Ahoulaguine Akaline featuring Bombino

Feel The Love – Rudimental, featuring John Newman

In the Mood – Glenn Miller (see Sonja Henie!)

Stand By Me – Bootstraps

Fur Elise – pianist Lola Astanova

The Place Where Dreams Come True and End Credits – James Horner, scoring Field of Dreams

Coverville 1227: Cover Stories for Kate Bush and Rush and 1228: Cover Stories for Whitney Houston, A Flock of Seagulls and The Go-Go’s

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly); Cover by Sina

1-2-3 – The Electric Indian

My Dearest Ruth – Patrice Michaels (from Notorious RBG in Song)

The niece Rebecca Jade will be singing at five Sheila E shows this month, in Michigan and the Northeast

How the Beatles unravelled: Hunter Davies, the band’s official biographer, recalls the tensions that led the Fab Four to split

The Top 60 Female Artists of All Time

April rambling: Silent Scream

It is brutal, damaging and untrue

Condolences to Dustbury on the loss of his brother James, his last sibling

Thousands of internal documents that help explain how the Islamic State stayed in power so long

The root of all cruelty?

Travel is fatal to prejudice

Why does the Right hate victims?

50 years after the Wahine Disaster (New Zealand)

Corruption, Not Russia, Is His Greatest Political Liability

His long-term effect on American democracy: How worried should we be?

The Crime-Fraud Exception in the Michael Cohen Case

What Will Our Society Look Like When Artificial Intelligence is Everywhere?

Ten Things That Have Zero Effect on What the Truth Is

Daniel Van Riper’s Albany Weblog: They Want To Fill In The Ravine In Lincoln Park

The Real Story of the Hawaiian Missile Crisis

The REAL Consumer Price Index?

Congress, Not Amazon, Messed Up the Post Office

the beautiful human gumbo


Steven Bochco, RIP; a retrospective – I loved many of these shows

Remembering Winnie Mandela

Living the beam onstage with William Shatner

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Oprah’s Full Chat from SUPER SOUL SUNDAY

From the nifty historical fiction Silent Scream #1
Kickstarter: THE TRUST BOOK ONE: SILENT SCREAM ISSUE 2 – Dennis Webster, Bill Anderson, Gabriel Rearte and Laurie E. Smith

Mark Waid tells a new Captain America story with original artwork from Jack Kirby!

Top 37 Parks To Visit Before You Die

After 40 years, Wendy and Richard Pini finish ‘Elfquest,’ the ‘first American manga,’ and go on fanquest

SNL: Black Jeopardy with Chadwick Boseman

Seth Meyers’ great “desk story”

A Weird and Beautiful Sports Story

150th anniversary of Little Women

vlogbrothers: On Punctuality (John) v. How to Stop Being Late Forever (Hank)

Now I Know: How Overdue Parking Tickets Took Over an Innocent Person’s Life and The Therapeutic Value of a Not-Quite-Flying Pig and The Race to Determine the Fastest Man Alive and Why You Can’t Steal First Base and Why You Shouldn’t Eat Those “Do Not Eat” Packets and The Elevator Light That’s a Total Gas

How he is transforming himself into the greatest president ever


Found Tonight – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt

Listen to the Music – Playing for Change

Catch Me If You Can -John Williams score

She’s A Rockin’ Machine – Archie and the Bunkers

Coverville 1212: Cover Stories for Jimmy Cliff and Pharrell Williams

Oriental Rhapsody – Alexander Glazunov

Stephen Hawking Picks the Music (and One Novel) He’d Spend Eternity With: Stream the Playlist Online

‘The Weakness in Me’: Notes on Joan Armatrading

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Sonny Vande Putte

Never tell someone they can’t sing – it is brutal, damaging and untrue

Christopher Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest, turns 70

Since April 8, 1996, Christopher Guest has been The Right Honourable The Lord Haden-Guest

When the NBC series Saturday Night Live decided to go with more experienced talent in the 1984-85 season, I realized that Christopher Guest was one of the most anonymous-looking actors in show business. Unlike someone with a strong persona, such as Martin Short or Billy Crystal that season, Guest tended to blend in, which can be an asset in an ensemble cast.

I also remember him as the writer (with Eugene Levy)/director/actor in three films I saw in the cinema at the time: Waiting for Guffman (1996) -“an aspiring director and the marginally talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance”; Best in Show (2000), about the human personas at a national dog show; and A Mighty Wind (2003), about the reunion of a 1960s folk trio.

These films had largely the same troupe of performers, including Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, and Bob Babalan. There was something about the off-kilter sensibilities of these characters that I found, in their mundane absurdity, quite believable. I’ll have to seek out 2006’s For Your Consideration, which I somehow missed.

You might be familiar with Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel – up to 11! – the lead guitarist of the rock band Spinal Tap, in the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, directed by Rob Reiner. The film was written by Reiner, Guest and the other members of the “band”, Michael McKean (vocalist/guitarist David St. Hubbins), and Harry Shearer (bassist Derek Smalls).

This “fake” band has put out two albums that charted, one the title of the film back in ’84 (#121 on the Billboard charts), and Break Like the Wind, which I will admit to owning, that got up to #61 in 1992, when the movie sequel, which I did not see, came out.

But you probably know him best as the villainous Count Tyrone Rugen, The Man with Six Finger, from the movie The Princess Bride, which the family has seen together at the now sadly closed Madison Theater nearby.

Some biographical info I did not know: “Guest holds a hereditary British peerage as the 5th Baron Haden-Guest.” He has dual British and American citizenship. I did know that he has been married to Jamie Lee Curtis since 1984, but not that they have two adopted children.