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Martin Short Strives For Carson

He's mastered the media from Broadway to the big screen. Now comedian Martin Short is tossing his hat into the talk-show ring. The Martin Short Show debuts Sept. 13.

Short spoke on CBS News This Morning about his new show.



Short might be the most experienced talk-show host in America; he has been practicing since he was a teen-ager.

"I'd put together my own talk shows in my attic," he says. "I'd sing, then use the applause from my Sinatra at the Sands album. Then I'd interview one of my guests, using the interview from the month's Playboy."

"Then I'd introduce Tony Bennett or Barbra Streisland, put on a record and they would sing," Short reveals.

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And he has been mimicking people all his life. Born March 26, 1950, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Short got his big break in 1982, in the form of a role on SCTV: Network 90.

And after a year he returned to Canada to appear in the original SCTV where he won both an Emmy and a Gemini for his work.

His career was on a roll. Lorne Michaels asked him to appear in Saturday Night Live. His big-screen debut followed in 1986's The Three Amigos, starring Saturday Night Live comedians Steve Martin and Chevy Chase.

He recalls an important milestone: appearing on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, where he not only appeared but also sat next to Bette Davis and did his impression of her.

"She had no idea who I was. She thought that's the way I spoke," Short says.

"Then I had done different impersonations and you heard, 'Do you do me?' And I had done her already. I said, 'Well, you're not that easy to do.' She said, 'Then skip it,' " Short recalls.

One of his most recent successes involved appearing in Steve Martin's Father of the Bride films.

Short has also always had his share of stage credits. He received a Tony Award nomination as well as Outer Critics Circle and Theater World awards for his appearance on the Broadway musical version of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl.

In 1999 he won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway show Little Me.

Why does Short want to get onto the highway of talk shows where there are so many burnt carcasses?

"I keep looking for that road where there aren't burnt carcasses, he says. "As opposed to the easy road of the movies or the easy road of Broadway or the easy road of sitcom."

Though he says he is not going to reinvent the wheel, Short plans to be true to himself on his show. "If you go against your instinct, you will in fact look like you're doing an impersonation of a talk-show host," he says.

Short will not have a desk because he will be jumping up and down. "It's Carson meets SNL," explains Short.

He will also have a resident comedy troupe to collaborate with him throughout the show while performing sketches, parodies an musical numbers.

The troupe includes Kevin McDonald (The Kids In The Hall), Jerry Minor (Mr. Show), Mary Scheer (Mad TV), and Toby Huss.

There will also be improvisational games to involve studio audiences.

The Martin Short Show will be syndicated and play in different time slots across the country.

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