Updated December 9, 2022. We sat down with comedic icons and best friends Steve Martin, 77, and Martin Short, 72, over the summer before the duo brought their jokes and music to Wolf Trap on August 20 and 21 for a set of weekend performances that was long delayed due to COVID.
The two go back nearly 40 years. Their comedy is so quick, they’re almost like brothers. At times during our interview, it was hard to keep up with their lightning-fast rapport. The legends first got close in 1986’s The Three Amigos, so it’s almost like they have indeed grown up together. They then starred in 1991’s Father of the Bride and its sequel four years later.
The two of course also got into plenty of hijinks together while Short was on Saturday Night Live. While Martin never was an official cast member, he has hosted the show 15 times.
Tell us more about your show coming to Wolf Trap this summer. Saturday is already sold out. What can those who buy remaining Sunday tickets expect to see?
Martin Short: You’ll see the funniest show you’ve ever seen live!
Steve Martin: Then Marty comes out.
Martin Short: Right, then I come out then it changes.
Steve Martin: You’ll have to excuse me; I’m wearing a mask right now because we have COVID in the house. I’m OK, leaving my little isolated space for a bit. I’m not sick, but a family member does have it. Anyway, there’s lots of comedy.
And Steve, you play the banjo, right?
Martin Short: He sure does!
Steve Martin: There’s lots of laughs, applause, the audience goes nuts. One of the reasons we’re sold out at Wolf Trap is because they started selling tickets three years ago. These are makeup dates. Maybe we can use that line in our show?
Any favorite places to visit when you’re in Virginia?
Steve Martin: I love the whole area. Hold on, I’m looking up something. The Kluge-Ruhe Museum at the University of Virginia. It’s a collection of Australian Aboriginal art, an entire museum dedicated to it, it’s a very unlikely place.
Martin Short: I love visiting the same place! That Kluge Museum. I like visiting the White House when I’m invited.
For those who haven’t watched Only Murders in the Building yet, why should they start? What can we expect from season two?
Steve Martin: We’re spinning off the first year and developing characters of all kinds that you wouldn’t know would become significant. We’re laying into different characters that have risen to the top. We don’t want to say too much.
How do you feel about Gen Z discovering you two and becoming fans of you both? Do you think working with Selena Gomez has given you more cred (so to speak) with today’s generation?
Steve Martin: I don’t know if we’ve been discovered by Gen Z but if we have, it’s certainly because of Selena.
Martin Short: I don’t think it’s because of your early juggling.
How have you two managed to stay friends as long as you have?
Martin Short: I think once you’re saturated with someone, you’re with them forever. I know you’ve experienced that feeling when you haven’t seen your friend for a year and then you spend time with them and it’s like you just saw them last week. It helps that Steve and I work together on a TV show and a live show. I can’t shake him!
Steve Martin: Yeah, he’s stuck. I have a camera inside his house, so if I call him, I can just see if he stares at the phone and doesn’t answer.
Martin Short: He knows if I say, ‘Steve, I can’t talk, I’m busy!’ He can look at the camera and see I’m just doing my nails.
You can find more on The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment, at wolftrap.org.
This story originally ran in our August issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.