That’s the way I feel after reading Hamilton-born comic Martin Short’s alternately hilarious and heart wrenching book, I Must Say.
I’ve always been a fan, so it comes as no surprise that the book is laugh-out-loud funny. Short is simply one of the great comic minds of his generation, creating a rogues gallery of grotesque but wonderful characters like uber-nerd Ed Grimley and clueless and rude interviewer Jiminy Glick. He was brilliant on SCTV (Jackie Rogers Jr. and Lawrence Orbach get their due in the book) and shone on one season of Saturday Night Live. He never achieved major film stardom (his film Clifford was a notorious flop, now a cult fave), but found his true calling on stage, winning a Tony award. His talk show appearances, particularly on David Letterman, are unfailingly wonderful.
Another reason I wish I was friends with Marty Short would be that I would get to know HIS friends. Among his best buds are Tom Hanks and Steve Martin, and c’mon, who wouldn’t want to be friends with these guys? Along the way, Short has encounters with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Katherine Hepburn and other legendary figures, none of which go well for him, but great for us because they’re hilarious.
But the surprise of I Must Say comes when Short writes about the tragedies in his life, and this man has had more than his share. He lost both parents and a brother before he was 20. Most painfully, he lost Nancy, his wife of 30-plus years, in 2010. He writes about ‘Nan’ with a tenderness and pain that you can feel through the pages. His attitude towards the pain he has experienced is quite inspiring.
I Must Say is a terrific read, I can’t recommend it enough. Oh, and Marty (I can call you Marty, right?). If you’re reading this, let’s hang some time, I must say.