The Toronto Star has called her “maybe the funniest woman in the world.” USA Today has proclaimed her “a comic genius.” All of this acclaim, plus a huge body of work, means that Andrea Martin has a lot to live up to when she takes the stage.
Luckily, she’s got a lot of experience.
Martin’s first professional role was as a singing chicken on the “Captain Kangaroo” show on television, but she first became well-known during the 80’s with her hilarious appearances on the classic late-night comedy show “Second City Television (SCTV)” on NBC, which followed five years of working with the Toronto-based Second City stage show. (The legendary Second City also launched the careers of such comic luminaries as John Candy, Eugene Levy and Martin Short.) Her spoofs of Broadway, including her turn as Indira Ghandi in a send-up of Evita, her portrayals of Liza Minelli and Connie Francis, and original characters like the leopard-print clad Edith Prickley, sex therapist Cheryl Kinsey, and eager student of English, Parini Sclerosi made her a leading figure of the distinctive humor that “SCTV” brought to the airwaves.
I asked Martin what made “SCTV” different.
“SCTV had a humor of gentleness. It was humble, and because it was Canadian we didn’t get political. Characters like Parini Sclerosi are full of innocence and joy. It was a humor of naiveté and humility,” she said.
While “SCTV” brought her into living rooms around the country, Martin is perhaps even better known for her big-screen portrayal of Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which she put on a thick Greek accent and essentially stole the show. As the most outrageous of Nia Vardalos’ outrageous Greek family, Martin’s Aunt Voula had full license to chew scenery.
Locals will have a chance to experience Martin’s comic creations on August 29, when she brings her latest show to Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. Called Final Days! Everything Must Go!!, the show features characters from “SCTV,” Broadway songs, and revealing stories about Martin and her famous Hollywood friends.
“The show is what I call a ‘tag sale,’ by which I mean it’s a grab bag of stories, characters, and audience participation. Aunt Voula will appear to teach two volunteers from the audience a Greek dance, Cheryl Kinsey will answer sex questions, and Edith Prickley will play piano with her bosom. I’m going to do a Broadway medley. I want it to be a party—nobody will be transformed, but for an hour and a half we’ll have fun,” explained Martin.
Accompanying Martin on piano and joining in the action is Seth Rudetsky, a veritable cabaret powerhouse.
Martin asserts, “He’s just amazing. I’m so lucky to have him. He accompanies me and Betty Buckley. He has his own show in Provincetown every weekend, he has two satellite radio shows, he’s written two books, and just recently wrote a musical.”
Martin’s show is also new and the show at Bay Street will be the American premiere. From here, it will travel around the U.S. and Canada, so the Bay Street audience will have gotten the first glimpse of a new hit from Andrea Martin.
Final Days! Everything Must Go!! with Andrea Martin at Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor on August 29. Showtime is 8 pm. Tickets are $60 for members and $65 for non-members. To purchase tickets go to www.baystreet.org or call the Bay Street Box Office at 631-725-9500. Or visit them on the Long Wharf, Sag Harbor.