Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Monday, June 20, 2005
thanks to KMT
Steve Martin delivers laughs at Nantucket film fest
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Sunday, June 19, 2005 - Updated: 12:04 PM EST
NANTUCKET - A boatload of bold-facers landed at the Sconset Casino last night to fete and fawn over funnyman Steve Martin at the annual NBC Universal Screenwriter's Tribute at the Nantucket Film Festival.
The Peacock People packed the place with newsies like Brian Williams, "Today" weekend gal Campbell Brown, anchorgal Natalie Morales, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo and "Hardball" heavy Chris Matthews. "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels made the scene with Steve, and the lovely Lake Bell, who will appear in "Fathom," a new under-the-sea "Lost"-esque series on the network's schedule this fall, also vogued on the red carpet.
Macauley Culkin, fearful that he may encounter a question about his good friend Michael Jackson, cowardly skulked in a side door. Indie fave Steve Buscemi, here at the festival with his movie "Lonesome Jim," also skipped the cameras-and-questions part of the program. But wannabe White House daughter Alexandra Kerry paraded before the press (although she couldn't remember her favorite Steve Martinism), as did comic Jim Gaffigan and "Blind Justice" top cop-now-on-hiatus Michael Gaston.
Inside the casino, Williams kicked off the yearly gush-a-thon with his usual round of jabs at Nantucket's weather, cobblestone streets, red tide alert and, of course, rich residents.
"I could tell my children were uncomfortable when they saw a family getting off a Gulf Stream II," the newsie deadpanned. "It's only a 10-seater with those old swivel reading lights and aftermarket DVD player. But the kids were very good at not staring."
Steve Martin left the sight gags to NBC's Bob Wright who came out to fawn over the funnyman with his trademark arrow-through-the-head. Which is probably the reason the only photog shooting the event inside was the network's official shutterbug!
"I got it from Lorne Michaels' extensive collection," he said.
Williams nearly brought the crowd down with a story about being imbedded with an Army battalion under fire in Iraq earlier this year but drove his point home when he said the lieutenant, who was around his age, told the unit to "Let's get small."
"Even in that you-know-what hole, we exchanged a knowing glance that we were part of something," said the groupie, who told the Track he wore out three stylists on his stereo playing "Let's Get Small," Martin's debut comedy album in 1977.
Michaels, who had Martin host "SNL" more than a dozen times, introduced his wild 'n' crazy friend after a video tribute that included 11 films that Martin wrote and starred in, as well as many memorable "SNL" skits.
"This is especially meaningful for me," Mr. Happy Feet deadpanned. "After school, my friends and I used to play Nantucket Film Festival screenwriters. I remember taking that first piece of paper and putting it in the typewriter and thinking maybe this will get me (bleeped)."
After receiving his traditional boat quarterboard with "Martin" engraved on it, the man of the hour joked that he would have preferred "a full board."
"Several of us were up very late last night trying to find a boat named "Martin'," reported the NBC News cheese.
Bet that left Steve feeling like a Jerk!
Martin and "Inside the Actor's Studio" sultan James Lipton took turns playing each other's straight man yesterday when the Bravo! interviewer staged a sit-down with Hollywood's favorite Jerk here at the Nantucket Film Festival.
Martin, 54, on the island to be feted by the festival last night at the annual NBC-sponsored Screenwriter's Tribute, flashed his famous humor as well as his blend of humility and haughtiness during the 90-minute Q&A in front of a SRO crowd at the Nantucket High School.
"On `Inside the Actors Studio,' I . . ." Lipton began.
"Is that you?," the astonished actor asked. "Oh. My. God."
"It's me when it's not Will Ferrell," the Studio softball tosser said, referring to the former "SNL" alum's dead-on impersonation of him. "And full disclosure - he's better than me."
Talk about Bringing Down the House!
"You really don't seem prepared," Martin jibed Lipton, holding up his trademark stacks of blue note cards.
During the course of the questioning, the actor and screenwriter described his early fascination with show biz and how working at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., got him hooked on performing magic tricks, making balloon animals and telling jokes.
"To me it was show business," he said.
Fast forward to his college years studying philosophy at Long Beach State and then onto UCLA, where he had the good fortune of having an ex-galpal sleeping with the head writer of the Smothers Brothers TV show. Years later, he got back into performing, he said, because he was "envious."
"For generations, comedy was East Coast-based, mostly Jewish," Lipton droned. "And then suddenly there came on the scene a West Coast WASP with an arrow through his head and happy feet, spear-heading a revolution."
"Well. I don't know if I spear-headed a revolution," shrugged Steve in the striped seersucker jacket.
In 1972, Martin said he had a comic epiphany. So he cut his hair, put on a suit and decided, "It's time to be stupid."
The banjo-strumming funnyman took stupid to new heights and contributed an indignant little phrase to the '70s lexicon that groupies in the audience - including NBC News cheese Brian Williams and "Hard Ball" blowhard Chris Matthews - yelled out when asked: "Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee."
As for his 11 screenplays, Martin - who was quite concerned about the length of the Lipton interview - said he rarely looks back at his old work like "The Jerk" and "Roxanne." And should they pop up on TV, he's more apt to change the channel than to watch, he said.
But he still can't understand why Eddie Murphy didn't get an Academy Award nod for his roles in "Bowfinger."
Martin said he's currently filming "Cheaper by the Dozen II" and in post-production of the "Pink Panther" prequel, which he co-wrote with Len Blum.