It was May of 1978 as I sat on the Princess Marguerite with a bunch of older teenagers, trying to be impressively hilarious by (so I thought) imitating Steve Martin’s Wild and Crazy Guy. I’m pretty sure the other kids thought I was having a seizure.
In later years I came to love his goofball comedies like The Jerk and The Man with Two Brains for their hilarity, but somewhere along the way I discovered that Mr. Martin (or Steve as his friends might call him) is a fine actor. In 1987’s Roxanne, a modern retelling of Cyrano, Martin (or Mr. Martin) presented what I thought was an Oscar-worthy performance as a wonderful guy with a huge nose.
Throughout his performing career, every now and again I would see Steve (or Steverino) play banjo and think to myself, “Hey, this guy’s good.” And now he’s making fabulous bluegrass albums.
Even children’s books are not safe from Mr. Martin’s (Steve’s) multi-genre-al skills.
Somewhere along the way, namely in 2003, Little Steve-O became the #4 box office star in moviedom. Not bad for someone who at one point had only his friends and his thermos. Here are some movies the S-Dog (Stevabamalama) can be found in:
- It’s Complicated
- Baby Mama
- The Pink Panther
- Cheaper by the dozen 2
- Cheaper by the dozen
- Looney Tunes, Back in Action
- A simple twist of fate
- Father of the bride
- Dirty rotten scoundrels
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- Little shop of horrors
Did I mention that he makes fabulous balloon animals?
What we have here in Steve Martin is a Renaissance guy in the true spirit of the word, a man who has mastered not just one but many artistic forms. I find this to be truly amazing. Perhaps it is difficult to take a comedian seriously, but Steve Martin has some serious talent.
In Katie Couric’s book The Best Advice I Ever Got, Martin cites a quote by e. e. cummings: “Who would be secure? Any and every slave.” Which leads me to believe that he is not a secure person, for Steve Martin is not a slave to people’s expectations nor to artistic norms. He’s a wild and renaissancey guy.