VOD Review: Steve Martin and Martin Short in An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life
Two Comedy legends return to make some quick money in An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. The disparity in energy levels from the headliners might throw some people off, but the variety show on display is quite winsome.
An Ambling Preamble
I love Steve Martin. He’s made movies that still rank in the top ten comedies I’ve ever seen. I’ve read all his books, and even watched one of his plays on stage. Hell, I even get a kick out of his banjo band, and living in Portland Maine for any stretch of time can wear you out on that particular instrument. Yeah, I love Steve Martin.
While it isn’t quite as white hot, I also really like Martin Short. He has an energy and charisma that is infectious. He can also belt out a tune like the best of them (albeit a little more Eric Idle than Frank Sinatra). As such I should have been happy if An Evening You Will Forget was Martin and Short reading their grocery lists out loud and leaving.
But this isn’t a review to tell you what a ride or die fan of classic comedians I am. I’m here to tell you whether An Evening You Will Forget… is worth your time. And to also clear up what the heck this show actually is, as I’m assuming a lot of people are gonna go into this expecting stand-up comedy with maybe a song or two. So lets dig in, shall we?
Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life (2018)
Steve Martin and Martin Short reunite on stage after first meeting together almost thirty years ago on a little film called The Three Amigos. Since then, they’ve made movies, television shows, books, plays, and lots of music. Martin, Short, and Netflix team up to give the audience a little taste of all of this, performing skits, songs, interviews, and picture montages.
The Pleasure of My Company
Anyone who knows Martin and Short from their movies might walk into this special expecting stand-up and sketch comedy. Fans from their SNL and post-movie careers might have a more informed understanding of the duo. Martin started as a comedy-magician, was big in song based comedy, and went on to form a traveling stringed instrument band (he’s played banjo for decades). Short’s calling card was impressions, and a singing style that adds comedy to vintage Las Vegas style lounge singing. An Evening You Will Forget is a distillation of their varied careers, without a whole lot of fan-service.
By that I mean, anyone expecting old skits like King Tut or Ed Grimley might go a little mental. Also, anyone expecting a manic night of crazy comedy are only going to get a half dose. An Evening You Will Forget is an odd homunculus: half of the bits they do are very much modern continuations of the comedy they’ve both done for years. The other half is just two old friends enjoying each other’s company in front of a live studio audience.
It’s not boring, and sometimes some extremely funny impromptu comedy comes from two razor sharp wits shooting the shit with each other. But it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. And I’m sad to say it, but it seems like Martin Short is the half of the group trying his damndest to impress the audience while Steve Martin just seems content to do whatever he likes. That also creates an issue with the tone: half the time you feel like the two are both genuinely getting into a bit, and other times they don’t quite seem to be on the same page. For example, when one of the only throwback characters comes out (Martin Short as Jiminy Glick), Martin seems downright disinterested in playing his part.
An Ambling Post-Amble
I really enjoyed what I got from An Evening You Will Forget, but still couldn’t help feeling a touch let down. I can also easily recognize my bias. Here I was, expecting more energy and fan-service from a 72 year old millionaire (Martin)! But that’s the thing: these legends are old (which makes the frenetic 67 year old Short even more impressive). We might not ever see new content from them again. I wanted something truly hilarious; something to store in my cherished memories for decades to come. What I got was sweet and winsome, but well shy of epic.
An Evening You Will Forget got a little too close to being on the nose with its title. It’s a good time, but a little too disposable and…well… forgettable.