You may think the cast of Martin Short SNL characters begins and ends with Ed Grimley, but the truth is, the Saturday Night Live legend gave birth to no less than four recurring comedy standouts.
And, believe it or not, all of them debuted in the fall of 1984.
So, here is the quartet of Martin Short SNL characters unleashed on the world that election year, never to relinquish their grip on our funny bones.
Ed Grimley (first appeared October 6, 1984)
So Ed Grimley, you already know about.
This is the Mack Daddy of all Martin Short characters, and one of the Mack Daddie’s of all Saturday Night Live characters.
Equal parts Pee-Wee Herman and Stuart Smalley, Grimley was a nerdy, happy-go-lucky, yet deliciously neurotic doofus who liked to dance around his living room like a roach when the lights came on and who pandered to Pat Sajak like Garfield to pizza.
He was a 1980s kid, like us, but with big, greasy 1950s hair, and the building anxiety that would define adulthood for so many of us.
So, should we love Ed Grimley or hate him, eschew him, preserve ourselves against his mirror into our souls?
Awww, screw it. He’s a freaking classic, and I’ll watch every time he flashes on the screen. Bet you will, too.
Lawrence Orback (October 6, 1984)
Lawrence Orback may have been Lawrench Orbach, depending on who you ask. NBC themselves says Orback, so I’m going with that one, even though Google corrects me to Orbach when I type Orback.
It’s an enigma, a contradiction.
Just like the “man” himself, who actually debuted on SCTV during Short’s run on the Canadian vehicle from 1983-84.
It was the “Synchronized Swimming” skit with “brother” Harry Shearer that put Lawrence on the map … two doofy, unyoung brothers training for the Olympics … in men’s synchronized swimming … which didn’t exist?
And, Short — as Lawrence — intoning nervously, with a silly giggle, during and interview — “I’m not that strong a swimmer.”
Jackie Rogers, Jr. (November 10, 1984)
Another holdover from Short’s SCTV days, Jackie Rogers, Jr., was the glitzy, over-the-top performing son of the somewhat less glitzy, over-the-top dad, Jackie Rogers, Sr.
Singing, cracking jokes, looking at the camera all cockeyed, making frenemies throughout show business — Jackie was a mock-up of Joan Rivers and Fernando LLamas and every televangelist ever … and yet fully unique.
You can see a lot of Jackie in some of the characters who came to SNL later … looking at you, every talk show host send-up ever on SNL.
Nathan Thurm (November 17, 1984)
If you’re ever in need of a good lawyer, well …
Well, yeah, you should probably pass on hiring Nathan Thurm.
But, if you’re ever in need of a good laugh at the expense of a slimy television lawyer?
Yep, Thurm is your guy!
Alternately evasive, confrontational, and nervous, Thurm is always paranoid and always looking to point the finger at someone else.
And always smoking, right down to his nicotine-stained fingers.
So, when Thurm looks at you and maintains, “I’m not being defensive. You’re the one who’s being defensive” — you can rest assured it’s he who is being defensive.
“Is it me? It’s him, right?”
Yeah, it’s him.