Steve Martin And Martin Short Have Broken A Huge Record

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

steve martin martin short

Who knew that the key to getting people to watch Saturday Night Live was to bring in the original cast of Father of the Bride? Or, for that matter, to recreate Father of the Bride as a four-minute skit? It may seem unlikely, but Deadline reports that the iconic comedy duo of Steve Martin and Martin Short brought the struggling comedy show the highest ratings it has seen all season, with 5.1 million viewers tuning in to watch them perform.

Previously, Season 48’s highest ratings came from the appearance of Dave Chappelle on November 12. Chappelle’s controversial monologue, which included commentary on antisemitism, Donald Trump, and Herschel Walker, started out an episode that brought in 4.8 million viewers in total. It took just less than a month before Steve Martin and Martin Short managed to break that record, with skits including an R-rated version of A Christmas Carol, a parody of PBS science shows, and a visit to a mall Santa gone wrong.

The unparalleled success of Steve Martin and Martin Short’s appearance comes at an age that you’d hardly consider the prime of most comedians’ lives. This August, Steve Martin turned 77 years old, having started acting all the way back in 1967 with a minor role in the animated series Off to See the Wizard. While not quite as old, Martin Short is certainly up there in age — he turned 72 this year, with an acting career dating back to 1972 when he had a role on the kid’s educational TV series Cucumber

Both Steve Martin and Martin Short have had very full, very successful careers. They have often appeared alongside each other in films, including the 1986 comedy Three Amigos, all three Father of the Bride films, the 1998 animated film Prince of Egypt, and most recently in the Hulu mystery comedy-drama Only Murders in the Building

Of course, the two comedy icons have had very successful careers separate from each other. Steve Martin’s 68 acting roles include starring in both Cheaper by the Dozen films, starring in the 2006 and 2009 Pink Panther movies, and working alongside John Candy in the classic Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Martin Short, meanwhile, has had 110 separate roles, appearing in Mars Attacks, Innerspace, Inherent Vice, and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.

Steve Martin and Martin Short’s domination of this year’s Saturday Night Live ratings is especially impressive when you look at their competition. Not only did they beat out Dave Chapelle, but they also trumped comedian Amy Schumer, rapper Jack Harlow, and award-winning actor Brendan Gleeson. The pair also beat out almost all episodes of Season 47 — the only exceptions are the night the show featured singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and the show when Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd guest-starred.

Season 48 of Saturday Night Live will last until May 2023, so there’s still plenty of time for another guest star to draw in bigger crowds. However, the series has been struggling to gain an audience ever since the beginning of 2021. So it’ll take some doing for Saturday Night Live to regularly bring in the audience that Steve Martin and Martin Short attracted on Saturday.