How did Martin Short come up with the Ed Grimley character he made famous on Saturday Night Live and Second City Television? Like most of his characters, Short told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson he was inspired by someone he knew.
“There’s a guy I knew in school […] He always wanted to be a photographer. His voice always kind of went up like that. He was really soft spoken. I’d say, ‘Hey Mark, did you take any pictures this weekend?’
“[He’d say] ‘Yeah I took a lot of slides … Then 20 years later, you’re coming up with a character.”
One of Short’s most memorable performances for Dori was the SNL synchronized swimming sketch featuring Short and Harry Shearer.
“I’ve probably seen it 100 times, Martin,” said Dori. “It makes me laugh even the 99th and 100th viewing.”
Short said he thinks that sketch works and lasts because it’s just really sincere.
“I always think one of the things with synchronized swimming is there’s so much sincerity in there,” said Short. “Harry is not playing it for laughs at all. He’s playing a very sincere guy who is taking on synchronized swimming. And his brother is sincere too, except he can’t swim. And he’s not the brightest bulb.”
Short hopes his live show comes off as just as sincere.
“You kind of want the audience to sit back and say, I kind of felt like I had a hang with that guy. I felt he was really loose and really happy to be there,” said Short.
He’s inviting Seattle audiences for a hang at his Thursday show. Dori is encouraging all his listeners to turn out.
“Let’s face it, when you have a genius like yours, it would be unfair not to share it with the world,” Dori said.