Canadians are funny people – not odd (although some are), but humorous. And our comedians? They’re hilarious. Canada is the birthplace of some of entertainment’s most successful comedians by any measure (even for what’s trivial, like the number of times Canadian duo Wayne and Shuster appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show – 67, if you want to know).
Our ability to make the world laugh is something we take so seriously, that we teach it. Two colleges, one in Montréal and the other in Toronto, offer post-secondary programs in comedy writing and performance. Comedy is also big business. Montréal’s internationally renowned bilingual festival, Just For Laughs, is a magnet for tourists. Canadian impresario Lorne Michaels’s Saturday Night Live in New York has remained on the air for decades, launching many Canadian comedy careers. For more than 50 years, Toronto’s Second City troupe has been a training ground for generations of comedians – and was where the sketch comedy show SCTV began.
The funny people honoured in this stamp issue are some of the many Canadian comedians who keep us laughing.
A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Martin Short began performing at a young age, staging imaginary talk shows in his bedroom, complete with music and interviews. Though his interest in show business was evident early on, he completed a degree in social work at McMaster University.
In 1977, Short kicked off his comedic career by joining the Toronto Second City troupe. In 1982, he moved to the new show of SCTV, where he created such memorable characters as Jackie Rogers, Jr., Brock Linehan, Brad Allen, Irving Cohen and Ed Grimley. Some of them would reappear later in The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley (1988) and I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood (1989).
When SCTV ended, Short jumped to the big screen, co-starring as Ned Nederlander with Steve Martin and Chevy Chase in Three Amigos (1986). He has also lent his voice to hit animated movies, including Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001) and more recently, Frankenweenie (2012), where he worked with former SCTV co-star, Catherine O’Hara.
Also at home on the live stage, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) in 1999 for his role in a revival of Little Me, while his 2006 hit musical Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me thrilled audiences. Among his many achievements, Martin Short was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada on October 19, 1994.
Photos: Courtesy of Martin Short