Stephen Glenn Martin
(August 14, 1945-) is an American comedian and musician, who first became famous as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
and as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show
. After appearing on Saturday Night Live
as a guest host, he quickly became
(and still is) one of the most popular comedians in the United States. Since the 1980's, he has focused more on acting than stand-up comedy. Martin is also well known as an accomplished banjo player and would often play the instrument during stand-up comedy shows in the 1970's. He has released two albums of bluegrass music: 2009's The Crow: New Songs for the 5 String Banjo
(for which he won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album) and 2011's Rare Bird Alert
. He has recently returned to touring, but instead of stand-up comedy, it's with the bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers.
He was never a cast member of SNL
(a common misconception
)—he was a cast member on Lorne Michaels' failed ABC prime-time sketch series The New Show
, but was only a frequent host on SNL
—but Martin still became very close with several of the cast members, including Gilda Radner. On the day Radner died from ovarian cancer in 1989, Martin was to host SNL
; after introducing a video clip of him and Radner appearing in a 1978 sketch, he became overcome with grief and started to cry.
Steve Martin is a surprisingly deep guy;
he has a degree in philosophy. He has done a significant amount of writing, not only penning screenplays for some of his best movies (LA Story
) but also stage plays (Picasso at the Lapin Agile
) and novellas (Shop Girl
, The Pleasure of My Company
.) He is also the owner of one of southern California's finest private collections of modern art—and it has been implied by many, including Martin, that expanding his collection
is the motivation behind his taking such roles as Bringing Down the House
and The Pink Panther
Martin has guest-hosted Saturday Night Live
15 times, as of his January 2009 hosting (musical guest: Jason Mraz), breaking his previous record of 14 on a season 31 episode (with musical guest Prince
; an episode that originally was supposed to be the first episode of season 30, but both host and musical guest declined and the 30th season premiere was headlined by Ben Affleck with musical guest, Nelly). As of September 2011, Alec Baldwin has now beaten Steve Martin for most frequent host of SNL
(a record Martin had held since 1989, when he beat Buck Henry's record of ten) with 16 episodes under his belt.
- Academy Award: Hosted the show on 3 occasions, to great acclaim. Although he never earned a competitive nomination for his work as an actor or writer (despite some saying he could have for All of Me or Roxanne), he was eventually given an Honorary Oscar of his own in 2013.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: One of his TV specials had a short film of Martin acting out the storyline from Marty Robbins' song "El Paso" with all the other characters played by chimps.
- Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: As mentioned above, Steve Martin was never a cast member on Saturday Night Live (contrary to popular belief), but he hosted so many times and was a memorable part of the show in its early days that he could have been one of them. Martin was on Lorne Michaels failed prime-time sketch show The New Show (which was such a critical and ratings failure that it made Lorne Michaels consider coming back to SNL after leaving the show from 1980 to 1985).
- Funny Foreigner: He and Dan Aykroyd played Georg and Yortuk Festrunk, Czech immigrants and swinging bachelors, in a series of early SNL sketches. Steve also carried over the voice to his stand-up.
- Just Like Making Love: "Hosting the Oscars is much like making love to a woman. It's something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town."note
- Morality Ballad: "Grandmother's Song", a staple of his early stand-up act, parodies this trope by turning into Word Salad Lyrics.
- Name's the Same: No, he wasn't the lead singer of the Baroque Pop band The Left Banke back in The Sixties, even though he is an accomplished musician.
- Older Than They Look: He's 68!
- Silver Fox: His hair was already greying in the late 70's, but still looks good.
- Even Rachel Ward (of The Thorn Birds fame), who was regarded as quite a beauty in her prime, admitted that Steve Martin was one of the few comedians who was attractive (calling him a "hunk"). Even if her compliment turned into something that was slightly backhanded (as she mentioned that once Martin started talking, all of his hunk-ness faded away).
- What Could Have Been: He auditioned for the british version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Oddly enough, the producers turned him down.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: When he plays fathers, this is generally part of the character's dilemmas.
- Younger Than They Look: In his younger days. His hair went white very early, but he's hardly aged since, making him a rare example of both this and Older Than They Look.