Martin Short set to host 2nd Canadian Screen Awards

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Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:53 PM ET

Martin Short’s host stint last year at the first-ever Canadian Screen Awards had the benefit of perfect timing.

One week before, Argo had won a Best Picture Oscar, amping the affront of Canadians who felt credit for the fabled Iran Caper had been stolen from them by the movie.

“I just flew in on Air Canada,” Short said in his monologue, “or as Ben Affleck calls it, American Airlines.”

The consummate host, Short is preparing to work year two of the CSAs (after also hosting both the Genies and Geminis, the awards for film and TV that were merged to create it). And he says it may be unrealistic to expect another perfect-storm punchline.

“Some of them land. And they’re remembered, no question,” Short said over the phone from Los Angeles.

“But whether doing this show or anything really, the better that you’re prepared, the greater your ease will be on camera. And that’s the only thing that matters.

“It doesn’t really matter if every joke lands. It matters that you’re having fun, that you’re loose. That was Johnny Carson’s genius. He actually hoped his jokes would bomb.”

Though much of his adult life was spent in Toronto – and Short’s legendary Canadian TV alma mater SCTV was produced in Edmonton and Toronto – he admits there’s a bit of a learning curve when he comes back to host the Canadian Screen Awards.

“Any time someone hires you it’s a compliment,” he says. “But I’m very challenged when it comes to Canadian television particularly, because I live I Los Angeles and then for three months a year I’m at the cottage (north of Toronto in Muskoka). And at the cottage, you don’t watch TV.

“I go more traditional. I’m not a big fan of seeing the TV on. Movies at night are okay.”

That distinctive voice over the phone has been busy of late. He was the voice of the infamous cat in the series The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That, which he notes, “got nominated for an Emmy down here, but not up there (at the CSAs) – which was where it was created.”

And anime fans are hearing him play Kurokawa, the boss of the protagonist Jiro (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in the North American dub of Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, the Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises.

Meanwhile, all of Martin Short will be on display on network TV soon, in his own series and in SCTV pal Andrea Martin’s new one. “Eugene (Levy) and I are separately guesting on episodes of Andrea Martin’s show Working the Engels (premiering March 12 on Global).

“Of course, once that got out, it became the three of reuniting for a series, which it isn’t.”

Meanwhile, Short is currently shooting a new Fox sitcom, Mulaney (starring stand-up comic and Saturday Night Live alum John Mulaney). “John plays himself, as a writer who works for a huge comedian who’s a big game show host - Lou Cannon, that’s me.”

It’s an old-school three-camera sitcom with a studio audience, produced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels. “Lorne’s pretty attentive. I don’t know how he does it. He’s working out of New York, we’re in L.A., but we’ve taped two shows and he’s been at both of them. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere.”

It’s Short’s first traditional three-camera sitcom since the short-lived The Associates for James L. Brooks in 1979 and the equally-brief I’m A Big Girl Now with Diana Canova the year after.

“You know, it’s interesting? What’s hip is to do one-camera, or it has been for the last 10 years. But if you look at the shows that are huge hits, they’re all three-camera. The one-cameras that the critics love win the awards. But whether it’s Arrested Development, which was brilliant, Community or 30 Rock, they don’t get the ratings you think they’re getting.

“The big ratings go to The Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men. Three-camera, not that much different than when Desi Arnaz invented it (in the ‘50s).”

Twitter: @jimslotek

Jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca

 


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