Andrea Martin brings her SCTV characters and others to the Jubilee
Andrea Martin performs at the Jubilee on Sunday.
Photograph by: Supplied
Final Days! Everything Must Go!!
Starring: Andrea Martin
Where: Jubilee Auditorium
Running: Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $81 to $136 through Ticketmaster
EDMONTON – In winter of 1977, it was just another in a remarkable series of spontaneous inspirations by a bunch of talented friends making people, and each other, laugh in a small Toronto theatre.
In retrospect, though, the moment Andrea Martin grabbed a ’50s faux-leopard jacket and hat off the dressing room rack, put on a pair of rhinestone cats-eye glasses and a smear of red lipstick, and entered the Second City stage as feisty and libidinous wiseacre Mrs. Edith Prickley at a parent-teacher interview has a career-launching lustre all its own. Not to mention, a signature cackle: “Pahaaaaaa!”
“I still have that jacket and hat!” declares the cheery voice on the phone from her New York apartment. “And I can still fit into them, how ’bout that?! I’m going to wear them in Edmonton.”
Yes, Mrs. Prickley returns to the city where she spent two of her SCTV years in the early ’80s — in regalia that once belonged to Catherine O’Hara’s mom, incidentally — for Final Days! Everything Must Go! Martin’s solo show arrives at the Jube for a single performance Sunday to benefit Edmonton’s Jewish Family Services.
For Final Days! Everything Must Go!!, which is not, despite its title, a harbinger of retirement (“it’s a joke!”), Martin brings along a gaggle of her SCTV characters, including Mrs. Prickley, uptight sex expert Dr. Cheryl Kinsey and English student extraordinaire Perini Scleroso. “I’m going to sing some Broadway songs, tell some stories. Then Seth (musical director Seth Rudestsky) and I will do an interview portion, and take questions from the audience. It’ll be more conversational and casual than I usually do, because it’s Edmonton and I was there!
“I’m so excited; I haven’t been back in Edmonton since SCTV,” says Martin of the celebrated sketch comedy series that spun from Second City, making stars of a gang that included O’Hara, Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Gilda Radner, Rick Moranis and others. In Edmonton, where SCTV was shot for two of its eight years, it was 17-hour-a-day marathons at the ITV studio, Martin recalls. “But I do remember biking along … was it a river? I remember malls. In the summer it didn’t get dark till 11:30; people were out on the street … I’ve never forgotten that. When we did have some time off, it was a beautiful city to be in.”
“It was the beginning of all our careers. My Jack was a little baby then, and he’s 33 now,” declares Martin, in some amazement. Under the eye of a nanny, Jack spent a lot of time in his infant years in an Edmonton condo. “It ruined him for life,” Martin laughs. “A fear of condos! Maybe that’s why he’s just bought a house.”
Martin, who’s warm and funny in conversation, spent most of September up in the air — literally, on a trapeze. She was back in the cast of Pippin, the Broadway musical that garnered her the 2013 Featured Actress Tony Award for a spectacularly non-grandmotherly reinvention of Grandma Berthe in Diane Paulus’s circus-themed revival. “It takes an enormous amount of discipline to keep myself fit. I work out at the theatre every night before the show,” Martin says. “And I train in the morning … I’m not a young chick any more, ya know (she’s 67).”
For a woman with a terror of heights, as she records in her new book Andrea Martin’s Lady Parts, her funny, startlingly honest new collection of personal “essays,” this concept seems crazily daunting.