Steve Martin — The Television Stuff

Steve Martin — The Television Stuff
It's unfortunate that a younger generation may only know Steve Martin as the guy from the Pink Panther and Cheaper By The Dozen movies when he was at one time on the cutting edge of comedy. While many are familiar enough with his classics ― The Jerk or Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid ― this DVD compiles all of his work on television over the years, mostly from the period when he was at his peak, in an essential package for all comedy lovers. To look back at his six specials in the late '70s and early '80s is to witness the evolution of a comic, from banjo-playing, freewheeling stand-up with bits of pieces of an act to the grand purveyor of all things silly that he settled into. These absurdist touches, which were in step with the work of Monty Python, are apparent in early sketches that see Martin riding giant rodeo turtles and retelling the Marty Robbins classic, El Paso, with the comedian as the only human in a Wild West populated by chimpanzees. Reflecting his rise to prominence, the production values and guest stars of the work become more noteworthy, with early appearances by Paul Reubens giving way to new friends at SNL, in Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. In 1980, Martin proved to be ahead of his time, releasing a special that was devoted solely to fake commercials and any claims of being a Martin fanatic are unfounded until one has viewed hilarious short film The Absent-Minded Waiter. A third disc is reserved for odds and ends, consisting mainly of appearances on talk shows and speeches at award functions. Many of these, such as when he honoured good friend Paul Simon, showcase Martin at his very best, quick with a killer one-liner, but sincere and heartfelt in delivery. A truly extraordinary appearance on Johnny Carson as the Great Flydini puts on display his roots in magic. In a way, the inclusion of all of this material is a DVD extra in and of itself, however comments from present-day Martin enlighten the content. He is dismissive of some of his earlier work, insisting that he can no longer watch it, despite fond memories of the experiences. It's interesting, then, which pieces he singles out as favourites, such as his work with a particularly startled chimp and the many visits to David Letterman over the years. (Shout! Factory)