Martin Short: I
always get a tape and start listening to it. I would find that -- all the way
back when I used to do SCTV -- what I
used to do is you have a script, let's say [Mikhail] Gorbachev. Then I would transcribe an
interview with Gorbachev. Literally transcribe it and I would realize that
everyone has a natural way of speaking that you can then apply in the script,
like, "And I uhh." So, now you put the uhhs in there and then you loop
God, you're really good at doing your homework.
MS: Oh, I'm very
good at my homework. It's just the execution part I stumble.
MR: Half of my
impressions are not impressions. Anna Wintour --
MS: But you captured
completely her attitude.
MR: I watched The September
Issue when it came out. I've been a fashion follower my whole life. So, you
don't have to tell me who Anna Wintour is. I know who she is, but I never
thought of playing her. I think in her case, it was one of those things where
Jeremy Beiler, the writer of the piece, said, "I'm writing this Anna
Wintour." I said, "Great," and I just did it. I didn't think
about it because I could hear her voice in my head. If it had been someone
else -- the first time my friend Emily wrote Oprah when I was on SNL, I said, "I don't know how to
do that." At the time, I asked Darrell Hammond to give me advice and the
advice was pretty similar to what you were talking about, in the idea of transcribing
the umms and the uhhs. He said, "She speaks down." But I never
followed that. I feel like, that aside, all my impressions are just characters.
I'm just talking funny.
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MS: Sometimes you
just broad-base it. I do this benefit with Darrell -- I do this Toys "R" Us
benefit every year, where I was playing Hillary [Clinton]. We're doing a future debate. I
didn't sound like Hillary, but the essence -- I was screaming and it was always
flat As, "I am a-mazed," as oppose to "amazed" -- and just
little things like that. You don't look like her, you don't sound like her, but
the audience laughs because they get the premise.
MR: I think the
visual is really important, but it's funny. In my case again, I don't know why,
but I've always just had this feeling that I can look like anybody. If you look
at me now, I don't really look like anybody I play, but I've got something in
my brain telling me, "Oh, I can do that." I just feel like I can and
I feel like whatever that conviction is just somehow translates. For whatever
reason, a wig will really change my whole thing. I don't look anything like
Anna Wintour at all, but a costume and a wig really help with that.
MS: But you know
you get the attitude. I think it is a lot about you, you just kind of get a
look. I had to do David Schwimmer in the show. I can't do David Schwimmer.
David Schwimmer is 6 foot 4. But I would just furl [my brow] and say,
"Juice." The audience laughs because they know it's not accurate, but
they get the premise of it. They're in on the joke.
MR: I think that
for me, from what you're saying about the Schwimmer one, they're all different
for me. But sometimes they're just in my head.
MS: You can
almost visualize them and sometimes you get the attitude and then sometimes