Friends, Steve Martin is absolutely one of my favorite comedians and actors – and since I’m being totally honest here, in addition I feel he is one of the best banjo players around too. Before I dive into why in 1973 Steve Martin was performing for dogs, I want to share how I was introduced to him. The first time I saw Steve Martin wasn’t on those classic guest appearances for Saturday Night Live but in his 1977 appearance on The Muppet Show. I can vividly recall being heartbroken when Kermit announced that the show was cancelled as he had scheduled new auditions – a mistake in reading the calendar and there would be no show. My Father actually had to explain to me this was in fact the episode – especially since Steve Martin was at the beginning. Try to cut me some slack, I was like five years old – anyway – this episode was not only my first introduction to the comedy styling of Steve Martin but my first taste of banjo music!
Now the next time I saw Steve Martin was thanks to his 1978 appearance on Saturday Night Live with his novelty hit single King Tut. It was 1979’s The Jerk where I decided at that ripe old age of eight years old that Martin was the funniest man alive. Like many films that I talk about on various podcasts and posts on this site – that 1979 comedy with the likes of Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jackie Mason, and M. Emmet Walsh was seen at the 62 Drive-In of my youth. Although since it was a Drive-In theater, my Father and I didn’t actually get to see it until the spring of 1980.
Now the reason I’m writing this post is so you can see this 1973 clip from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson – where Steve Martin performed for dogs – stand-up comedy for dogs that is. It totally makes sense I suppose as Steve points out in the clip, to make it in show business one must attempt their best to appeal to everyone… including the missed dog demographic. To be fair as you are about to see, Martin also gets to dabble in a bit of humorous sleight of hand – which is fitting as he did work at the magic shop in Disneyland as a young man!