Tom Green and Martin Short got in a recent row about an interview Short, in his Jiminy Glick persona, performed with the teat-suckling prankster. Short apparently asked Tom about his testicle cancer and then mimed taking a cell phone call while Green was talking. Tom considered the bit mean and pushed fans to start wearing shirts that said “Martin Short is Lame.” Green seems to have relented without getting the apology he desired from Short, but I think Green is right. Short has become lame.
Martin Short has become far too broad for his own good. His guest star appearance on Arrested Development as a crippled parody of Jack LaLane was the only episode that failed to work for me, simply because he hammed it up so large, it grated against the subtle acting of the rest of the show and the documentary style it is shot in. (I’m not the only one either, Arrested Development fans rate “Ready, Aim, Marry Me” at the bottom too.) Even will all the exaggerated coincidences on the show, the cast always keeps a sense that for the characters that the events are actually happening to them. Short just crammed as much scenery in his mouth as he could.
Plus, he doesn’t seem to understand the need for surprise anymore. His appearance on SNL interview a 70’s era Lorne Michaels was structured exactly like all of his celebrity interviews… mess up the celeb’s name, fall out of the chair, eat like a pig, pretend to choke with slight variations of faux insensitivity only because every celebs’ career highlights are different. The only saving grace from the repetitive schtick for previous interviews was at least you got celebrities’ honest reactions (like Green’s I suppose). On SNL, 70’s Lorne was played by Will Forte, so any improvisational feeling was lost.
Short can be subtle. In what’s possibly one of the greatest SNL sketches ever, he plays a male synchronized swimmer who’s not too strong a swimmer. He can be an amazing player if he doesn’t oversell. It would be great for Short to rediscover how to play small.
I normally hate the impulse of actors to play drama. But Short could actually use it. Find a film where a director will sit on him and make him keep all the manic energy inside. Hell, find a drama about old Hollywood if that’s what it’ll take to keep him interested. Just do something different from falling, screaming and over-eating. Surprise us.