Fame Becomes Me

I wanted to write about Fame Becomes Me, the Martin Short one-man show, because I was worried that if I didn’t write about it tonight I’d forget I saw it tomorrow morning. This, in theory, should have been a lot better: Short is undeniably talented, and one-man shows can sometimes be extraordinary (see: Crystal, Billy and 700 Sundays). Objectively, however, it wasn’t good at all; it was like Short and his co-creator, Marc Shaiman (who wrote the music for Hairspray) took a bunch of semi-related ideas, threw them against the wall, saw which ones stuck…and then went with all of them, anyway. Which, I would imagine, is why the show contains, among other things, a baby Martin Short singing an ode to his mother’s “titties”, a musical spoof about Gary, Jesus’ stepbrother and a pointless eleven o’clock number encouraging authors to have big, black women steal the show (this really happens, by the way). Some of it was entertaining, yes…but there was no point to it. Someone needed to tell Martin Short to give his show a centre; as it was, a recurring image of a great, big snowball crushing him to death (again, this really happens) wasn’t sufficient. Then again, having someone telling him to do would bely the nature of the one-man show–but Fame Becomes Me is proof that everybody, even Martin Short, needs an editor.

And having said all that…I liked it, mostly because Short, Shaiman and the rest of the cast try so hard to make it work that the show becomes oddly endearing. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it–and the scores of people who staunchly refused to stand for the curtain were evidence that not everybody enjoyed it–but I certainly wouldn’t tell you not to go see it. Plus, if you’ve got a valid student card (which Bri does, even though she’s technically not a student), you can get the best available seats for $20. One year from now, I won’t remember seeing Fame Becomes Me–but for a night out, you could certainly do worse.

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