Steve Martin accepted the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this weekend, an honour previously bestowed on comedy icons Buster Keaton, Richard Pryor and Carl Reiner.
“It is a life of cherishing a few things and regretting a lot of things, but that is the life of a performer,” the silver-haired wit-master said. He added that, despite having won an Emmy in the past for his writing on the ‘60s hit US TV show The Smothers Brother’s Comedy Hour, “the Mark Twain Prize is more special to me… because it is more recent.”
As clips from Martin comedy classics like The Jerk and The Man With Two Brains played at the awards ceremony in New York, Tinseltown’s finest rolled out the praise for the Roxanne star. Eric Idle called Martin “the most intelligent man I’ve ever met. Honesty, simplicity and truth are the secret to his comedy.”
Tom Hanks cited “self-loathing and unhappiness” as the keys to Martin’s success. “He redefined comedy by defining the moment of our ascendancy as a generation,” the Oscar hogger added.
Martin will next be seen alongside Claire Danes in Shopgirl, based on Martin’s own novella, as well as a sequel to 2003’s overgrown family romp Cheaper By The Dozen. Totalfilm is slightly less enthused by the news that his much-delayed Pink Panther prequel is also due out next year, which will see him stepping into the shoes of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. Anyone remember Martin’s Sgt Bilko? We still wake up screaming…