Thursday, February 26, 2009

Funniest Lady

Andrea Martin can make me laugh harder than almost anyone I can think of; along with Catherine O'Hara, she is SCTV's great gift to the world.

Last night we happened on My Big Fat Greek Wedding on late-night television, and even better came in on Martin's big scene, in which she grave tells the hapless WASP suitor about "ze lump at ze beck of my neck", which following "za bipopsy... za bioopazi ... za beeoobsy" proved a surprise: "Yes. In za lump ...voss my tvin!" It's a miracle of deadpan absurdity.

She honed her skills in SCTV's sketches from the mid-70s onward, before going on to Hollywood. My favorites include late-night TV pitchwoman Edna Boil. My friend Miss Rheba and I can convulse each other simply by repeating, in Edna's rural whine, "them piggies is greasy!" I suppose you have to be there.

Another of her creations is the great Edith Prickley, who morphed over the years from an officious executive to an unlikely superstar, a diva of mermanesque self-confidence in such memorable moments as Edith Prickley: Live at the Continental Baths and, of course, Prickley Heat.

Perhaps the most Dada of all Martin's creations, though, is the amazing Perini Scleroso, an immigrant lady of no known talent whatsoever whose amazing lack of articulation in any language came to its apex in her appearance as Eliza in SCTV's My Fair Lady.

These days, Martin has turned into a Broadway staple; she's seen here in her Young Frankenstein dressing room, the décor of which would appear to have been, alas, more successful than the show.

No matter, we adore her, and can't wait to see what she gets up to next.


  1. oh, I couldn't agree with you more.
    love her!

  2. She is simply the best! And she made Hedwig that much better.

  3. love her!!! i have some of sctv on video i've collected over many years. she's great,and catherine o'hara!!!

  4. Next up, she's in rehearsal for the absudist Ionesco play Exit the King with Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon and Lauren Ambrose.

    Previews start March 7th for a March 26th opening.

  5. It's no secret that the Kitty worships at the alter of Ste-Martin, as my profile pic will attest.

    What you need to do is find a copy of the SCTV Christmas Special and bee line for Christmas with Liberace. Dave Thomas as Libby and She as Ethel Merman... it is NOT to be missed.

  6. i agree! the christmas special is wonderful...


  8. A few years ago, I was with my friend who is a hairdresser and we came face to face with her as she was entering the subway here in Toronto. He stopped her,"Andrea! OMG, your hair!" Without skipping a beat, she said, "First, oh I know! Second, screw you!"

    Oh, we laughed.