Actor, singer and spasmodic funnyman Short delivers a memoir with cameos by his famous characters.
The youngest of five children, Short (b. 1950) credits his quick wit to a Darwinian struggle for the last word at family dinners, as the children battled the acerbic sarcasm of their father. A precocious child, the author would record his own bedroom variety show, but he’d never considered show business a legitimate future until his senior year of college, when he gave himself a year to pursue his dream. Luckily, Short got his first big break as part of the Toronto production of the off-Broadway smash Godspell. Short even boasts the scene had a “Paris-in-the-’20s thing going on” due to all the would-be stars that were around, including John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd and Paul Shaffer. Most of them were associated with Godspell or with the comedy group Second City, which Short would later join, eventually landing on Saturday Night Live and then beginning a film career. For all his success, Short notes with genuine pathos that it wasn’t without sacrifice; he suffered the losses of his oldest brother, mother and father all by the time he was 20. He also recounts the loss of his beloved wife to cancer. Ever positive, he reflects that these tragedies gave him a fearlessness about life. Though he was tenacious, Short jokes that his tombstone will bear only the word “Almost,” as her never quite ascended to official movie stardom. Matching the successes of films like Three Amigos and Father of the Bride were misses like Clifford and a daytime talk show that failed to be the career second coming Short imagined. He experiences all this doubt despite winning an Emmy and a Tony, which again only proves his drive and versatility, rightfully earning him the nickname “Mr. Entertainment.”
A true vaudevillian, Short is always on as he delivers funny anecdotes from a diffuse and storied career.