I Must Say by Martin Short
I love the movies Pure Luck and Innerspace. They are ridiculous, and probably do not hold up, but I love them. I also hold a special place in my heart for The Three Amigos. The one thing they have in common? Martin Short.
This is a very sweet book, which makes sense, because Mr. Short is, by all reports, a very sweet guy. He seems kind, generous, and funny in a dorky way that works for some people but not everyone. And if written by anyone else, I think this book would rub me the wrong way. It’s basically a few chapters about his early life, followed by a whole lot of name dropping. But the thing is, he’s not actually dropping names. These are just his friends, and they of course feature prominently in his memoir.
Mr. Short faced some rough stuff in his life. He lost his older brother when he was in his early teens; by the time he was 20 he was an orphan. His wife died in 2010, after 30 years of marriage. He’s experienced a lot of loss, but he’s also experienced a lot of joy. He’s had an extraordinarily successful career without necessarily being everywhere all the time. I don’t know if most people think of him as a big name of comedy, but I think comedians think of him as a big name in comedy, and they would know. I also have some issues with some of his choices – especially using a fat suit as Jiminy Glick – but I do genuinely believe it does not ever come from a place of hate.
One thing I really took away from this book is the Nine Categories. It sounds like a cult, but it’s kind of amazing, and I think I’m actually going to try it. Basically, as he faced some challenging times in his career, he wanted to keep things in perspective, and make sure he was devoting time to the things in his life that matter. So, to quote him:
“I decided to systematically compare my performance in that one specific category of my life – work – with my performance in the other important life categories, and to give them all equal importance.” (emphasis mine).
Man, that is a refreshing outlook. It doesn’t put work at the center of everything. In case you’re interested, the categories are:
– Immediate Family
– Original Family
– Lifestyle (this is meant to include both having fun and making a difference in the world)
I love it.
I read the book, but I believe he read the audio version, and I’m betting that would be fantastic.