Short Ribs

Though peevish the few times I ever met him (to be fair, press conferences would bring out the crank in Ghandi), Martin Short has a wide reputation for being one of the kindest and most genuine men in Hollywood. Certainly his warm and witty memoir I Must Say justifies that reputation, with wonderfully insidery details of the North American comedy landscape from the ’70s through today. We’re talking stories about Gilda Radner (his first serious girlfriend), John Candy, John and Jim Belushi, Rick Moranis, Jan Hooks, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Goldie Hawn, Larry David, Nora Ephron, Jerry Lewis, Billy Crystal, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, Elaine May, Carol Burnett, Jerry Lewis, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Guest, Bill Murray, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Sammy Davis Jr., Diane Keaton, Tom Hanks (back when he was funny), and Andrea Martin–as well as the origins of every member of his (rubber) band of stock characters. The little girl in me who hijacked every elementary school sleepover with an Ed Grimley impression is especially delighted. Short’s greatest charm is a generosity that extends to himself but doesn’t preclude others. The book is replete with the kind of vignettes you always hope take place in Hollywood, even while stories of film producers snorting coke off B movie starlet’s asses seem more likely. An example:

Mike Nichols was as funny in person as he was on TV in the 1960s. A few years ago David Geffen invited us both onto his spectacular yacht, the Rising Sun. As we sat down to dinner one night, I took in the sight of all David’s guests–each one famous and accomplished–and decided to initiate a game called “Who Has Met Whom?” Surely at least one member of this crowd had met just about any great twentieth century figure you could think of. “Did anyone here ever meet Eleanor Roosevelt?”  Warren Beatty responded, “Actually, I met Eleanor Roosevelt.” From the far end of the table, Mike called out, “Did you fuck her?”

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy