thu 09/02/2023

Steve Martin and Martin Short, SSE Hydro Glasgow review - old friends bring a touch of vaudeville | reviews, news & interviews

Steve Martin and Martin Short, SSE Hydro Glasgow review - old friends bring a touch of vaudeville

Steve Martin and Martin Short, SSE Hydro Glasgow review - old friends bring a touch of vaudeville

Hoary gags, music, and even a soft-shoe shuffle

Steve Martin (left) and Martin Short’s show is a mix of comedy, music and sending each other up

Steve Martin and Martin Short first met in 1986 on the set of The Three Amigos (in which they co-starred with Chevy Chase), became fast friends and have since worked on a few projects together. In what was quite a coup for the Glasgow Comedy Festival, the first night of their UK tour was a starry curtain-raiser to the festival proper, which starts on Thursday.

The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment is a mix of stand-up, reminiscences and musical interludes (provided by pianist Michael Farrell and bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers, while Martin gets out his banjo for a couple of tunes), but mostly it’s two old mates – Martin is 74, Short 69 – gently roasting each other.

Before they come on stage we’re treated to 10 minutes of clips from their careers – The Three Amigos features, obviously, as do the comics’ separate stints on Saturday Night Live, and various films they have appeared in. It’s good to be reminded of Short’s ghastly TV personality Jiminy Glick and Martin’s hilarious turn in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (who makes an appearance later), among many highlights.

The pair rib each other mercilessly. Introducing Short, Martin tells us there will be a lull in the 110-minute show, and then says, deadpan: “That’s when Marty will be on.” Short, meanwhile, says of Martin’s career: “I look at Steve’s work and I’m... whelmed.”

They perform some comedy segments separately, others together, and chat about their childhood and careers – the anecdotes prompted by photographs projected on the onstage screen. They sing a couple of parody songs and there’s even a soft-shoe shuffle at one point.

It’s old-school, even vaudevillian – and some of the hoarier jokes probably predate that long-gone age of entertainment – but much of the material is bang up to date. Hollywood stars such as Mel Gibson and Leonardo DiCaprio are filleted with glee, while the quick-fire gags about people in the news – Prince Andrew, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump among them – have some real grit in them. 

Despite the obvious affection that underlies – even permits – the constant oneupmanship between Martin and Short, there’s nothing saccharine-sweet about his show. 

It’s polished, yes, but one would have to be a raging cynic not to see that the friendship between Martin and Short is genuine and, for all its faults, they obviously love the business they’re in. And for any student of comedy, seeing two old pros doing the business is just a joy.

The quick-fire gags about people in the news have some real grit in them


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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