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Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Spotty Sketch Show Has Some Great Moments

Author: Popeye-8 from Nebraska
4 April 2003

This show (not seen on network tv since 1988) represents the 'old' Steve Martin, as he began to outgrow the 'wild and crazy guy' persona. The sketches vary from hilarious (a parody of Marty Robbins' "El Paso" where Martin acts out the song with trained monkeys may be the funniest thing he's ever done) to subtle genius (he lip-synch's "Some Enchanted Evening", and does it straight, wearing a white tux) to parody (he mimics "60 Minutes" by turning the tables and investigating THEM, esp. Morley Safer being Canadian--look for Paul Reubens in a odd cameo as a sandwich maker), and those are the strong points. Other skits are inconsistent (the diving competition bit has some funny moments), dated(his "Love God" routine with Joyce DeWitt dies a rather painful death) or a bit offensive (a drunk driving steamroller bit actually made my mother storm out of the room!)...

This is a nostalgia piece for fans of the old "arrow through the head" Martin of the slightly pretentious "artist" will likely be confused.

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Flashes of Brilliance

Author: jbtd-1 from United States
17 August 2009

I watched this special when I was very young, but to this day, my family will still occasionally reference the incredulous Socrates when he learns that hemlock is poisonous: "iiiiiit iiiiiiis?" The diver with the tuna fish sandwich also stands out, as it appealed to my sister's and my childish humor, as does the swimmer in the slow lane.

I can't believe that anyone could be offended by the steamroller PSA, as one poster mentioned, unless they have lost a loved one to a drunk driver. Even then, the setup is so outlandish, and the flattened little boy is so cartoonish, that I can't see anything to get riled up about. When I saw the steamroller bit in Austin Powers, it immediately made me picture Steve Martin hamming it up as he tried to stop the steamroller, and the little boy just standing in front of it for what seemed like an eternity.

I'd love to watch the full special again to see how it stands up today, but, as others have mentioned, it's hard to come by.

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Steve Martin's 1980 Comedy is Not Pretty Television Special

Author: g-balzano from United States
12 December 2006

This was one of the funniest 1 hour shows I remember when I was growing up. Hilarious skits. His Laundry service played out as a southern preacher, and his drunken steamroller driver with Regis Philbin stand out in my mind. But the skits that are most memorable to me are the Death of Socrates (Where he is surprised that none of his followers told him that "Hemlock is Poisonous") and the one where he plays out the Marty Robbin Song "El Paso" with Monkeys and Elephant are just simply side-splitting. At the time, I didn't have a VHS recorder, so I don't have it. But I am curious if anyone knows if this is on VHS or on DVD? I haven't seen it, but you never know what is out there. These skits are definitely worth keeping in anyones collection.

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One of the funniest things I watched when I was a wee tot!

Author: GreenGrassOfHome from United States
25 March 2006

I can't even put into correct words how much I loved this! And still do! I'll never lose track of my VCR tape that has this and his commercials special still on it! I continue to quote things from this special, as do my friends. If someone doesn't know what I'm talking about.....I really can't even explain it, however, they all seem to laugh. Hands-down, best skit, is in the restaurant ordering with Joyce Dewiit! Pure Classic!!! Maybe it's just the fact that anything Steve Martin seems to do, carries his super, "this is funny cause just look at my cheesy smile" look on his face!! I love it!! It does have a nostalgic factor for me, as I was extremely young at the time it aired, but I watched it over and over again like any kid does when they like something. As I grow older, it would keep gaining a different reason to be funny, as maybe some of the dry humor I didn't catch when I was younger was becoming more obvious to me. Any way you slice it, just simple comedic Steve Martin hilarity!

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Available copy of this anywhere?

Author: higgsgigs from United States
10 January 2006

I give it a 9, only because it's a little dated (26 yrs. next month)-- but is STILL the classic from what I remember. I had recorded this onto VHS at the time, and had since lost or erased it for some unknown reason. In the late 90's, I was able to get to the Museum of TV in New York City, and got to view the show again for the first time in like 15+ yrs.... and have since wondered (with the advent of Internet) if there were any available copies or recordings of the special anywhere on the 'net, and if anyone HERE maybe have a clue. In fact, ALL Steve Martin's TV specials should be available somewhere, on DVD or online. I still have a VHS-recorded copy of his 1981 special, with one of the last appearances of John Belushi on TV.

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Funny bits, and pathetic attempts

Author: Gir Draxa from Sacramento, CA
10 June 2004

Wow! The good old days of Steve Martin. While occasionally funny, this one really just seemed to be a loose collection of ideas for jokes that didn't make Saturday Night Live. Some are quite funny, ranging from the El Paso/Monkey sketch to the "Bizzare Oddities of the World". However, going deeper in, there are a lot of turkeys. The 'Holy DryCleaner' really just miss. Others seem to run on too long or deviate too far into the weird, like 'Anti-Terrorist Public Service Message' which just seems to vere off from funny to lame... and then grind to a halt.

All in all though, I would recommend this one for 'classic' Steve Martin fans. The bizarre level of the jokes may be a bit much for the casual fan, but the die hards (like myself) should really get a kick out of it.

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Pee in your pants FUNNY!!!

Author: Iosepa from Layton, Utah, USA
14 May 2004

Great examples of the old style Steve Martin, "... a wild and crazy guy!"

Some people will love this work, others will hate it. If you like the "early" Steve Martin you will love this.

Some of the bits work better than others, but as a whole it stands up as gut busting funny!

My favorite is the "Born-Again Dry Cleaner". That's like trying to pick my favorite child. I love them all for their good points and their bad points.

More actors than I can name off the top of my head, and you see them in funny, off beat roles!

Hopefully someday it will be avaliable on DVD!

Try and see it, you'll be glad you did.


Layton, Utah

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