A friend who works for the Meyerson Symphony Hall called me Monday and asked if I wanted to go see Martin Short and Carl Reiner speak on Tuesday night. I've always loved Martin's comedy, but I rather expected he'd wax on about Obamessiah, etc., and I expected Meathead's dad to do the same. Even if Rob Reiner DID direct The Princess Bride, just like the rest of us, he's entitled to be wrong oncet in a while.
The restaurant group, Brinker International, sponsored this new series of lectures, and Tuesday was the kickoff event which was to have featured speaker John Travolta. However, sort of last-minute, the big Scientology cheese had a scheduling conflict, and Reiner and Short were booked to take his place, thanks be to Xenu. I'm calling that a most fortunate substitution-- I can't imagine how listening to a Sweathog for a couple hours could have been even remotely so engaging as hearing of the early careers of Reiner and Short.
Incidentally, Reiner's wife was the "I'll have what she's having" lady from When Harry Met Sally, which Rob also directed.
In speaking of his early career, CR was already writing for tv series in the 50s when he had the idea for a show about a guy who's writing for a tv show. He filmed a pilot for it-starring as himself-- and showed it to a producer. The producer said-- "it's good, but let's film it again, this time with a good actor." That turned out to be the Dick van Dyke show.
They both talked about Steve Martin, MS talked about SCTV/SNL and the evolution of his characters, and it was really immensely entertaining. At the question/answer end of the program, someone shouted out "Brad Pitt or George Clooney?" CR had appeared with both in those Oceans movies, so I suppose that was the inspiration for the question.
As I said, I expected there to be a lot of political stuff, but they said they'd decided NOT to talk politics, but CR said he couldn't stand not knowing, so he wanted everyone to -- not moving hands, head or face, utter a sound when he said the name of the candidate they would vote for. This was hilarious. I was surprised how many uttered when he said McCain, and there was a substantial amount of booing when he said Obama, but I'd say the crowd was a majority in favor of Obamessiah. Not surprising for an artsy, wannabe intellectual crowd. After the "vote" was taken, Martin said to Carl "I can't believe you don't think this is dividing the audience!" Big laugh, there.
Wow, good times, after all. SO glad Travolta didn't come to town. However, if he'd had a question/answer thing, it would have been fun to ask him what it was like working with Lily Tomlin on Moment by Moment. Or it would have been funny to mistakenly ask him about some film starring Robbie Benson.
Here's a Martin Short short...