Martin Short And Steve Martin Celebrate 40 Years Of Friendship Built Around “Ongoing Laughter”

Some actors come practically as a set; you can’t have one without the other. Martin Short and Steve Martin have certainly done plenty of projects independently, but the two comedians are pulled always together by the magnetic force of their friendship, which celebrates 40 years of respect, love, and—most importantly—laughter.

78-year-old Martin and 74-year-old Short first worked together in a film in 1986’s Three Amigos! followed by iconic performances in Father of the Bride. Most recently, they’ve been bringing the chaos alongside Selena Gomez in Hulu’s whodunit, Only Murders in the Building. Almost four decades into this creative, comedic camaraderie, Short has explored the essence of what gives their friendship such strong foundations and his hopes for the future.

Martin Short discusses the thriving nature of his friendship with Steve Martin going for nearly four decades
Martin Short and Steve Martin started developing their friendship even before their first big project together
Martin Short and Steve Martin started developing their friendship even before their first big project together / Courtesy: Everett Collection

It’s worth noting that the two met a few years before their first on-screen appearance. “I met Steve, the first time, backstage at The New Show, an hour-long version of Saturday Night Live in prime time that Lorne Michaels was producing for NBC,” Short shared with InStyle. “Steve was the guest host that week — this is in ’84 — and Catherine O’Hara, my old friend, was doing the show with Steve.” The rest is history.

“Steve and my friendship is tied around a concept of ongoing laughter — and respect for each other and love for each other — but laughter,” explained Short, speaking with PEOPLE. The two do not talk to one another every single day but they always ensure that the other is up to date on the latest goings on, “especially with gossip,” Martin specified.

At this, Short emphasized, “Always with gossip.”

This is exactly the trend both comedians hope to keep going for another 40 years. In fact, Short says he has no bucket list, assuring he’s “done everything I needed to bucket.” In place of this list of lofty aspirations, he’d just “like to just keep laughing.”

The two comedians play off of one another seamlessly

Their steadfast friendship is built on continuous laughter
Their steadfast friendship is built on continuous laughter / © Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

The chemistry that their profound friendship created for Martin and Short has resulted in a boundless well of comedic potential. The two have been promoting Wells Fargo’s Active Cash Credit Card in ads and a series of shorter promotional videos, every bit of content feeling natural and lighthearted throughout.

Once, Martin jested that he is able to “trick him” using their respective credit cards, explaining, “For example, the bill will come, and I say, ‘Let’s put both our credit cards — our Wells Fargo credit cards — so we could both get 2% cash back on the thing, so that we’ll split’ and then I remove mine. And then he pays for it and doesn’t realize it, but the problem is he gets the 2% and I don’t.”

With ease, Short fired back, “The reality is that if we do split it, we agree on the tip, and I deliberately do $10 more.” The two have taken their friendship very seriously since the start, back when they were tasked with playing close friends in The Three Amigos! and so went to one another’s trailer to play Scrabble together. “And laughter is a great bonding mechanism,” said Short. “If you make someone laugh or they make you laugh, you want more of that. When the film wrapped, we started having dinners, the three of us and our wives. And it just continued on. There was never a phase where I didn’t see Steve for a couple of years.”

Both actors also have nothing but high praise for the other's character
Both actors also have nothing but high praise for the other’s character / (c)Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

While laughter is the strongest ingredient in the friendship between Steve Martin and Martin Short, their contest of nobility is a significant factor too, a fact that’s not lost on either of them.

“Steve’s best quality is who he is as a man,” Short previously gushed to PEOPLE about his Only Murders co-star. “He’s very moral, he’s very loyal, very, very ethical. And this is beyond all that talent.”

In exchange, Martin considers Short the “perfect” person, adding, “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. If Marty can’t come, you cancel the party.”

Here’s to 40 more years of friendship and laughs for these two!

40 years later, they're still bringing the laughs

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