Steve Martin and Martin Short are the comedy duo of legendary caliber

By Gillian Telling
December 25, 2019 09:00 AM
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Steve Martin and Martin Short have been close friends for 35 years, ever since their first meeting at Martin’s house in the 1980s just before they were to start filming the 1986 comedy The Three Amigos, which Martin, 72, wrote with Lorne Michaels. (It also starred fellow funnyman Chevy Chase.)

Now the duo is taking their funny friendship on the road with their show “The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment.” The two previously worked together on their 2018 Netflix special, “Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life.”

So what is it about each other that keeps them so close after all these years? The fact that they make each other laugh, yes, but there’s also a deeper appreciation of each other.

“Steve’s best quality is who he is as a man,” Short, 69, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “He’s very moral, he’s very loyal, very, very ethical. And this is beyond all that talent. You can be working with the most talented, funniest human being in the world, but if you don’t have those other things, you don’t really want to tour with someone.”

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Steve Martin and Martin Short
| Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
  • For more about Steve Martin and Martin Short’s friendship, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

As for Martin’s thoughts on Short’s best qualities?

“There’s nothing,” he jokes.

“No, he’s kind of the perfect person. He’s smart, he’s funny. He has many friends. He’s the most popular guy at your dinner party. If he’s coming to a dinner party, it’s a better dinner party,” says Martin. “If Marty can’t come, you cancel the party.”

In their comedy show, the two spend time riffing with one another about anecdotes from their friendship, their years working in Hollywood, the films they made (Father of the Bride!) as well as incorporating songs, costumes, and a band.

“We have a goal when we do our show, and that is for the audience to leave thinking, ‘That was the funniest show I ever saw,'” says Martin. “We love doing it, and we try to get as many laughs — sincere, good laughs — as we can.”

“I’m just in it for the money,” jokes Short. “No, I think the truth is, we do this because of how much fun we have.”

This year they’ll also go to Europe for the first time, and the two friends say that as long as audiences will keep showing up, they’ll keep touring a few times a month.

“We adore the show because, to be honest, of the reaction we get from the show which is hopefully just full of laughs,” says Short.

He adds, “As long as we’re having this kind of fun, why would we stop?”