8 user 1 critic

Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty (1980)

Steve Martin's second NBC special was done entirely in sketches. Highlights include: Marty Robbins' "El Paso" with monkeys; "The Death of Socrates;" and "Bizarre Oddities of the World."


Joseph Cates

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video


Learn more

More Like This 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Steve Martin's first network special for NBC. The show is half concert footage (shot at the Universal Amphitheatre in LA) and half sketches. Sketches include: Martin as "Turtle Boy," ... See full summary »

Director: Gary Weis
Stars: Steve Martin, George Burns, Maryedith Burrell
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Steve Martin's third NBC special.

Director: Walter C. Miller
Stars: Steve Martin, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Gayle Crofoot
Steve Martin's Best Show Ever (TV Special 1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Steve Martin's fourth NBC special.

Directors: Dave Wilson, Eric Idle
Stars: Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi
Homage to Steve (TV Movie 1984)
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This video contains three segments: First, the Oscar-nominated short The absent-minded waiter (1977), then a fake interview with Steve Martin about his art (comedians-segment) and finally a... See full summary »

Directors: Carl Gottlieb, Steve Martin, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Steve Martin, Teri Garr, Buck Henry
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A soon-to-be-married man encounters an exciting stranger after his plane suffers an accident on takeoff.

Director: Bronwen Hughes
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck, Maura Tierney


Credited cast:
Steve Martin ... Himself / Various
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marty Allen ... Igor
Richard Deacon ... King of Cey What
Joyce DeWitt ... Love God's Date
Phil Foster ... Pyramid Owner
Peter Graves ... TV Director
Werner Klemperer ... Plato
Meredith MacRae ... Hippie
Gary Mule Deer ... Hippie
Louis Nye ... Laundry Customer
Regis Philbin ... Public Service Announcer
Carl Reiner ... Sportscaster
Paul Reubens ... Cafe Counter Guy
Dick Schaap Dick Schaap ... Sportscaster
Noah Tutak Noah Tutak ... Kid run over by steamroller


Steve Martin's second NBC special was done entirely in sketches. Highlights include: Marty Robbins' "El Paso" with monkeys; "The Death of Socrates;" and "Bizarre Oddities of the World."

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated






Release Date:

14 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Aspen Film Society See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The special was produced without a laugh track, more like a film. See more »


Steve Martin: [as Socrates] It was always: "Socrates, what is truth? Socrates, what is the nature of the good? Socrates, what should I order? Socrates, what are you having?" And not once did anyone ever say: "Socrates, hemlock is poison!"
See more »


Referenced in Hirut Hoot 5th Anniversary Video (2017) See more »


Lullaby of Broadway
Music by Harry Warren
Danced by Steve Martin at the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Flashes of Brilliance
17 August 2009 | by jbtd-1See all my reviews

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.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed