Great comedy is ageless. For proof look no further than Steve Martin (71) and Martin Short (67) who brought their standup/concert/variety show to the Fox Theatre on July 20.
Billed as both “A Night You’ll Forget for the Rest of Your Life” and “See Them Before They’re Dead!”, the duo proved to have as much zip and relevance as ever as they told jokes, sang songs, and reflected upon their lives in show business.
The pair first met 30 years ago on the set of “Three Amigos,” which, of course, was given a nice little tribute as three audience members were brought up on stage and taught the famous Amigos Salute.
It’s fair to say the pair have different comedic styles, as Martin has always been more intellectual and absurdist, while Short tends to be zanier — doing goofy characters and impersonations.
But just like chocolate and peanut butter, these two great tastes taste even better together. This was probably best illustrated at one point in the night where Short came out and did a brilliant and completely silly bit as human bagpipes, after which Martin stepped forward and deadpanned, “The fact that you laughed at that makes me disappointed in all of you.”
The show started off with the pair on stage exchanging good-natured insults before they sat down for a walk down memory lane. Both Martin and Short are gifted storytellers and they traded tales of celebrity encounters and funny little stories about how strange it is to be famous in Hollywood.
They then gave up the stage to each other, as Short did several musical bits accompanied by Steve Babko on piano, topping it off with a hilarious take on Broadway in the 1970s.
Then it was Martin’s turn to show off his skill with the banjo. Martin has used the banjo in his act going all the way back to the very beginning, but it is only within the past few years where he has started performing original bluegrass tunes, this time with the fantastic band the Steep Canyon Rangers. At one point, Martin ceded the stage to the Rangers, who brought the crowd to their feet with a particularly rousing performance.
For the rest of the show, Short and Martin swapped bits, sometimes by themselves and other times together. But, the laughs never let up.
Really, this show had everything you would want from spending two hours with a pair of comedy greats who are still at the top of their game and enjoy being in each other’s company. It was a night I will have a hard time forgetting for the rest of my life.