Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

On the red carpet for Mark Twain
USA Today
Posted 10/23/2005 8:20 PM Updated 10/23/2005 9:47 PM
It's Steve Martin's night
Karen Thomas, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Zany was the red-carpet mood Sunday at the Kennedy Center, where there were no arrow hats, just lots of tuxes and good-natured barbs.

Comedians gathered to honor Steve Martin, recipient of this year's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, for his work as an actor, comedian, author (he published two novellas, Shopgirl and The Pleasures of My Company), playwright (he has written two Broadway plays, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Underpants) and musician (he once played banjo with Earl Scruggs on Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Breakdown). The ceremony will air Nov. 9 on PBS.

Martin, 60, and his Three Amigos co-star Martin Short hammed it up on the red carpet, with Martin insisting "this is my night," as Short mingled with applauding fans. "You get in there," the honoree said, pointing to the concert hall entrance and mocking Short's height.

A friend for over 20 years, Short said Martin is "witty, self-deprecating, and he doesn't take his stature for granted."

Randy Newman, songwriter for Amigos, and legendary comedy director Carl Reiner, who directed Martin in four early films, traded compliments. "You're voice is worse than Satchmo's," Reiner joked, calling the songwriter "a god."

But it wasn't all just a bunch of wild and crazy guys at the celebration. Lily Tomlin laughed about Martin's "big heart," "pipe-cleaner bones" and "we all know the rest of him is made of rubber."

The Twain award is a "great honor," Martin said, but even better, "it's a gathering of friends." He recalled getting his start performing stand-up at the Kennedy Center in 1976.

Tributes came from old friends: Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels recalled meeting Martin in 1976, the second season of SNL. "He made the show," Michaels said. And from new friends: Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David has known him only about four years, "but I could be off by two years on either side," Martin said. "He's fastidious," joked David, adding that Martin, a collector, has "great taste in art."

"He plays a great banjo, too," added Monty Python's Eric Idle.


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