Steve Martin Reveals His Secret to Aging Gracefully on TV

It somehow doesn’t involve Botox
Steve Martin Reveals His Secret to Aging Gracefully on TV

Martin Short kicked off his week of guest hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live! by interviewing his good friend Steve Martin, either because ABC’s parent company Disney saw this as a synergistic opportunity to promote the upcoming season of Only Murders in the Building, or Short and Martin are equipped with ankle monitors that go off if one strays too far from the other. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, not long after Martin came out, the conversation between these two comedians in their 70s focused heavily on old age. First of all, Short lauded his friend’s youthful appearance, despite his advanced years, before predictably turning it into an insult. “You don’t age,” Short told Martin, “and that’s the benefit of looking 70 since you’ve been 30.”

It’s a funny line, but it’s also kind of true. Martin famously went gray when he was in his early 30s. And this actually did have some huge benefits. As Martin revealed in the recent documentary Steve! his stand-up routines didn’t quite work when he was in his 20s because “the act looked juvenile.” But once his hair started graying, the comedy suddenly clicked for audiences, because, as Martin theorized, “you always have to think that a grown man is doing this.”

Short remarked that Martin’s not-so-haggard appearance was remarkable since “pale, pasty people tend to age faster,” adding, “‘cause you’re white. You’re whiter than a Michael Buble concert in Utah on a pickleball court.”

But Steve Martin let Martin Short in on a little trick to seeming youthful in the public eye: “I actually have a secret to not aging, and it’s this: You appear on a television show once a year. Because if you wait three years, the audience goes, ‘Woah, what happened?!’”

He’s right. If we hadn’t seen Martin since, like, Bowfinger, none of us would be remarking on how young he looks, we’d be weirded out by how old he’s gotten, and also full of unconscious existential anxiety because it serves as a reminder of our own fragile mortality. 

Of course, it’s also been long-rumored that Martin has dabbled in plastic surgery. And while this has never been confirmed, and it’s none of our business, it’s very possible that his knack for defying the aging process may extend beyond booking regular television appearances. Whatever the reason, some fans seem to think that Martin is suffering from Benjamin Button disease. 

Short ended the interview by telling Martin how much he loves him, quipping, “We‘re like Florida and a lower back tattoo, we go together.” Martin questioned his state of choice: “Why Florida? I’ve never understood that.” 

Short responded: “What do you mean? I just made that up,” thus putting to rest any suspicions that they were simply recycling pre-written material from their stage show. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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