Self-Taught

A breakdown on an L.A. street corner spurred Martin Short to find his passion

When I was 22, I began doing musicals in Toronto, near where I grew up. My first show was Godspell, with people like Gilda Radner, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas. The musical director was Paul Shaffer. It was around this time that the improvisational group Second City came to Toronto from Chicago to form a sister company. Everyone was so excited about it, but I didn't even audition. It felt like too much pressure to get up on a stage and just come up with funny stuff.

Instead, I did Cole Cuts, a revue of the music of Cole...

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