Jason Allen for USA TODAY
We caught up with Martin Short to discuss his new memoir, his role on Fox’s ‘Mulaney,’ his many characters, and his favorite moment from his time on ‘Saturday Night Live.’
This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to shoot one of my favorite comedians – the legendary Martin Short! Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I played my VHS copy of The Three Amigos until the video track was fading, and the audio track was barely audible. I must say I loved him as Ed Grimley on Saturday Night Live, and on the subsequent animated series, The Completely Mental Adventures of Ed Grimley. Anytime I need a laugh, his famous Synchronized Swimming skit from SNL with Harry Schearer still puts me in stitches! Sitting across from him and talking to him for a video interview alongside my colleague (Jocelyn McClurg, USA TODAY’s Books Editor) was surreal.
Martin was at 30 Rock, Studio 6B for an appearance on The Meredith Vieira Show. He greeted Jocelyn and I with a tremendous smile, firm handshake, and hearty back slap. While we were getting him settled in, mic’d up, and on his , I chatted with him about his work, and confided that he is one of my all time favorite comedians. He immediately dove into character as Jiminy Glick and started cracking jokes about “that no-talent clown, Martin Short. He was popular in the 80′s for about a minute… Can’t say I’ve seen his work!”. He may dig into others with his jokes sometimes, but Martin Short always gives himself the roughest treatment! My lasting impression of him is that he’s one of the most self-deprecating, grateful, and humble stars I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
We were given a cozy greenroom to work with for the shoot. When I say cozy, I mean about 8′ wide, and 10′ long. Most of that space taken up by a tired old couch and table with sandwiches and water bottles. With my video gear in there for the interview too, the room was pretty cramped and we had very little time to strike set and reset for photos… so I slapped on a wide prime and made do!
Behind the Scenes of my shoot with Martin Short
To minimize background clutter and get a good pose with Martin, I put my back against the wall across from the couch so I could get his shoulders squared with his knees and get a nice, natural, casual pose from him. Since I had no room for a light stand or softbox, I employed a valuable use-the-wall-behind-you flash-bounce trick that I learned from Joe McNally at last week’s Tribeca NYC workshop. (Thanks Joe!) That tip, and Joe’s get-hands-on-with-your-subject advice paid serious dividends when I had literally 15 seconds to shoot Martin Short post-video interview before he had to leave us to go on air!
I made this shot with my trusty D800, and a wide-open Sigma 35mm f/1.4 through 3-stop ND, SB-910 bounced off of the wall/ceiling behind me on an upward 45-degree angle, gelled with 1 cut of CTO to match the room’s tungsten lighting. Simple crop/rotation adjustment and a medium contrast curve in Lightroom, and this shot went to print!
Here’s Jocelyn McClurg’s article on Martin’s book, I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend, and the two accompanying videos that I shot for USA TODAY.
LINK TO USA TODAY
USA TODAY has been keeping me very very busy on the video front; this will be my first printed photo since starting with them in September!
Here’s one more of Martin and his infectious smirk… more to come!