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Creator / Steve Martin

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A wild and crazy guy.
"I loved to make people laugh in high school, and then I found I loved being on stage in front of people. I'm sure that's some kind of ego trip or a way to overcome shyness. I was very kind of shy and reserved, so there's a way to be on stage and be performing and balance your life out."

Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American comedian, author, 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 1970s. He has released five albums of bluegrass music and he has won more Grammys as a musician than he has for his comedy albums. He has recently returned to touring, but instead of stand-up comedy, it's with the bluegrass band 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 a frequent host on SNL (joining several other actors who have frequently hosted the show and are considered just as good as — if not better than — whoever the current cast members are, such as Alec Baldwin, John Goodman, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Buck Henry, and Drew Barrymore). Martin has guest-hosted Saturday Night Live 15 times. When he made his 11th appearance in 1989, he surpassed Buck Henry as the most frequent host in the history of the show, a title he held for 22 years until Alec Baldwin overtook him in 2011 with 16. 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.

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, Roxanne, Bowfinger) 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 many, including Martin himself, have implied that expanding his collection is the motivation behind his taking such roles as Bringing Down the House and The Pink Panther.

Not to be confused with Dick Martin, co-host of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

These days he’s mostly retired from acting to focus on his music. He doesn’t actively pursue any new roles but will take the right one should it come along. However, his most prominent role in recent years ended up coming from himself when he co-created Only Murders in the Building with John Hoffman alongside his longtime friend and previous costar Martin Short; the show is his first series regular gig.



  • Let's Get Small (1977)
  • A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978)
  • Comedy Is Not Pretty! (1979) - Final standup album.
  • The Steve Martin Brothers (1981) - Standup and songs.
  • The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (2009) (with the Steep Canyon Rangers) - First album entirely of songs, Grammy Award winner for Best Bluegrass Album.
  • Rare Bird Alert (2011) (with the Steep Canyon Rangers)
  • Love Has Come for You (2013) (with Edie Brickell)
  • So Familiar (2015) (with Edie Brickell) - Later adapted into the Broadway show Bright Star.
  • The Long Awaited Album (2017) (with the Steep Canyon Rangers)

Associated Tropes:

  • Academy Awards Ceremonies: Hosted the show on 3 occasions (once alongside Alec Baldwin), 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.
  • Artistic License – History: His One-Hit Wonder song "King Tut" uses the rhyme "Born in Arizona / Moved to Babylonia" which is a great rhyme, though Tutankhamun was neither born in Arizona nor ever went to Babylonia (though the claim that "he's an Egyptian" does seem to have a solid historical basis).
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: invokedAs 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).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much every character he plays. Few actors can sell barbed comments and frustrated, acidic wit as well as Martin. He's also one in real life, albeit not nearly as caustic as many of his characters.
  • 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, and the characters also appear in the 1981 prime time special Steve Martin's Best Show Ever.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: He played a lot of fathers over the years but didn't become one himself until the age of sixty-seven.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Most of his characters are extremely sarcastic, short-tempered, grumpy and generally cynical but his natural charisma always shines through and they will usually show their softer side as time goes on.
  • 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 
  • May–December Romance:
    • In-universe, there is a significant age-gap between him and his on-screen wife, Bonnie Hunt, in the Cheaper By The Dozen movies.
    • In Real Life, he also qualifies; his wife, Anne Stringfield, is a whopping 27 years younger than him, and he even has a daughter with her.
  • Morality Ballad: "Grandmother's Song", a staple of his early stand-up act, parodies this trope by turning into Word Salad Lyrics.
  • Murder Ballad: In his bluegrass song "Pretty Little One" a man goes into an If I Can't Have You… rage against his girlfriend when she breaks up with him and attempts to kill her. She turns the tables on him and the final verse reveals that she wrote the song.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: Possibly the most famous example in pop culture as his hair went completely grey before he was out of his thirties.
  • Punchline: Averted. Along with Monty Python, Martin was one of the first comedians on the 1970s comedy scene who experimented with comedy that had no punchlines, making him an early example of what would eventually become "alternative" comedy. In his autobiography, he described it as not allowing the audience the release of tension which came with a designated cue to laugh, keeping them on their toes and making sure they clung to his every word.
  • Reclusive Artist: Rarely, if ever, signs autographs, instead handing out cards that read "This is irrefutable proof that you met me and think I'm a great guy." note  He does use social media though and has a Twitter account.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "King Tut" was inspired by the "Treasures of Tutankhamun" exhibition that toured the US between 1976 and 1979, which generated a huge amount of hype and merchandising that Martin found tacky, so he did a tongue-in-cheek "tribute" to Tut based on "all the ancient melodies and modalities" (i.e. Doo Wop from The '50s). The song had an odd Colbert Bump in 2022 when the video of Martin performing it on Saturday Night Live went viral on Twitter, with younger viewers confused as to why the song is supposed to be funny, until it was pointed out that the video didn't include Martin's spoken intro that sets up the context very clearly.
  • Silly Simian: The TV special Comedy Is Not Pretty (1980) has a short film of Martin acting out the entire storyline from Marty Robbins' song "El Paso" — with all of the other characters played by chimps!
  • 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).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Since the beginning, his stage persona has been someone who genuinely believes he's the funniest, most talented performer ever, whether or not the audience agrees with him (this was initially to combat stage fright). It eventually evolved into total arrogance, with a never-ending supply of backhanded compliments.
  • Spelling Song: One line in "Ramblin' Man."
    "R-A-M-B-L-I-N. (Beat) Apostrophe."
  • Taught by Experience: Martin taught himself how to play banjo by slowing down bluegrass records and learning note-for-note. He's never had a formal lesson.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • 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.