Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Stave Martin said, "They smell 50 in this town."

This exceptionally talented, successful man was commenting on a Hollywood, USA fact of life: around 48, you are already on your way over the hill.

The "HILL?" Yep! When you have a career, you are on your way up a hill. If you get to the top, it's a nice level plateau. You can stay there for a while though you are still sort of climbing. At some point, though it feels the same, the going up is going down.

Steve Martin is one of my very favorite performers. He's a do-everything person -- actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, banjo player, pianist, dancer, composer, juggler -- "wild crazy guy"-- that's the name Steve gave himself years ago, and the name stuck.

With the Emmy, Grammy, American Comedy, and "Lifetime Achievement awards, he has fans, fame, and a name thoughout the world. And he has made a lot of money.

I love the guy. He's in his middle sixties, working, or looking for his next major project.

No, I'm not writing a Steve Martin tribute or a bio. But it's in my head -- visions of him -- things he's said and done in various films -- his wise, sardonic, never nasty, never mean sense of humor. I guess I love him because his attitude toward the realities of life in America fits with mine.

I want there to be more plays, more movies, albums, books, DVD's -- more Steve Martin projects. I don't want to think of him as over the hill. He's attractive and vital -- he still dances and cavorts like a young guy, but producers aren't going to invest in him. They smell 50.

I doubt that Steve Martin will be hosting the Academy Awards again, though maybe he'll be in a play on Broadway -- probably not. Broadway needs hot names and Steve Martin isn't hot anymore.

Why can't we be like the Asians, who revere their elders? Why can't we stand back, bow, respect, and, yes, idolize them-- hug onto them, knowing that their wisdom is gold. All the layers that make our elders what they are, are precious.

I never had the power and glory, the name and fame of Steve Martin. But I know what he is. I know from all my projects, dreams, things I've done -- from taking so many dreams/ideas/fantasies, from the flickering inner glow of "oh-my-goodness-wouldn't-that-be-fun-to-try," that I've never been richer, more capable -- that Steve has never been richer, more capable of invention than now.

But Steve has got to back off from NOW -- from what wins, and becomes the big smash hit. A kid starting up the hill has a better chance to win because he lives in NOW.

What he needs to do is shut the door on the concept of success in bestseller-dom, top of the charts, top box office. It messes you up. Even tucked away behind a new idea, it's poison.

How do I know? I know from how it has corrupted and distracted me. The Asian-elder-wiser Em is saying the more you create, the more you need to do and be, purely, what you are.


Carola said...

I love him best as a writer. His pieces in the New Yorker are very funny. His new book An Object of Beauty is a fascinating introduction to the New York art world, and a good story.

Linda Phillips said...

I too love Steve Martin. You have already said it all and so has Carola! He is so multi-talented.

Steve, let Lady Gaga be today's new thing. You should just go on being wonderful YOU!