Steve Martin Performed Stand-up for the First Time in 35 Years

After decades out of the stand-up world, comedian Steve Martin returned to the stage Thursday night, opening the second show of Jerry Seinfeld’s residency at the Beacon Theater. 

Martin has been notoriously cagey about discussing stand-up, as seen in 2010’s talk at the 92Y, during which the talk was interrupted so that the presenter could be given a card that said to discuss “Steve’s career” rather than his stand-up. It’s rumored that Martin’s return to the stage was brought on by a conversation he had with Seinfeld in Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. That discussion was probably continued after the episode taped, obviously, because it probably took more than a 23-minute talk to reverse 35-plus years of stand-up ambivalence.

The show was catalogued by Vulture’s Jesse David Fox, one of the Internet’s premiere keepers of comedy. Here’s a joke from the show, as transcribed by Fox:

By the way, I apologize for the ticket prices. [Pause.] I know it seems expensive, because there is like one guy, two guys, and a couple of mics, but it’s not that way. There are like four sound people, and two lighting people, and [pause] drivers, and wardrobe people, and catering, and someone to walk Jerry’s Fitbit around. [Pause.] A celebrity look-alike, in case Steve doesn’t feel like going on. Steve says hi, by the way.

It’s a pretty good joke, and, as the owner of a Fitbit, I can totally understand why Jerry would have someone walk it around, because you gotta get those steps in, no matter what.

Anyway, who knows if Martin will ever return to the stage again, but the one-time reappearance of one of the all-time greats was pretty great regardless.