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Short is fat and rude as parody of reporter

Sunday, June 17, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

He's ignorant, slovenly and his vocal range spans several octaves.

He's Jiminy Glick (Martin Short), an entertainment reporter who's not afraid to ask celebrities impertinent questions.

In Wednesday's premiere of "Primetime Glick" (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central, following a new episode of "South Park"), Glick interviews and insults Bill Maher and Steve Martin. In a future episode, he tangles with Pittsburgh native Dennis Miller and they discuss Scientology.

"I only made it 200 pages into 'Dianetics' and then my head exploded like I was in a David Cronenberg film," Miller says. "What do you make of it?"

Glick, who never allows ignorance to stop him from asking or answering a question, replies without hesitation.

"I only know that you go into a desert somewhere and there's a ship there and you sign a huge check and if you don't, they kill you," Glick says.


"Primetime Glick"

When: 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central.

Starring: Martin Short.


Short is at his best in "Primetime Glick" when he's playing the pompous title character, interviewing actors as he unwittingly mocks them (Glick calls Jerry Seinfeld "a barnacle on the hull of show business" during an interview).

Other parts of "Primetime Glick" don't fare as well. Parodies of movies and celebrities come off as forced. Short as Tom Green is not as funny (or as accurate an impression) as when Andy Dick played Tom Green on his recent MTV series.

Even when "Primetime Glick" falters during such tangents, there's always Jiminy Glick at the center to make the half-hour funny.

The Glick character first appeared on Short's short-lived daytime talk show (1999-2000). In a phone interview earlier this month, Short said he wanted to create a character that wouldn't be recognizable as Martin Short. His look as a bee sting victim in the movie "Pure Luck" inspired the look of swollen, prosthetically enhanced Glick. The character's disposition came from encounters with entertainment journalists.

"I've done a few junkets in my day and some of the guys always made me laugh with their ongoing attempts to be provocative and with their lack of preparation," Short said. "Basically, I've always been drawn to eccentric characters."

In January at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Short appeared in his Glick costume and answered a half-hour of questions in character that gave a pretty clear indication of Glick's personality.

"You go with the moment," Glick said in describing his interview style. "Sometimes you can make a mistake. I felt like a fool when I asked the late Shari Lewis if she missed Dean. Sometimes your information is simply not what it should be."

Short said working on 10 episodes of "Primetime Glick" was not appreciably better or worse than taping his talk show. He acknowledged having little pressure from Comedy Central over the content of "Primetime Glick," and he said that was also the case with his talk show.

"Even with the talk show there was no one pressuring me to be someone I wasn't," Short said. "The reality was, everyone said we want you to do a show because we think that your sensibility will appeal to people who are disenfranchised by daytime TV. They all watch judge shows because that's the only thing there is to watch. But it turned out there really was no disenfranchisement. To survive, we had to woo people from 'Judge Judy,' but they wanted to watch 'Judge Judy.' "

Short is happier to be at Comedy Central doing the parodies he enjoys most than fronting a network sitcom

"Doing a show for Comedy Central is more like doing something for late night or an HBO special. It's more for your own satisfaction," Short said. "When I feel pressure or discontentment it's if I'm saying, 'Marge, who took the cookies?' And then a bunch of kids jump at me. I'm not even criticizing [sitcom style], I just can't do that. I look at Ray Romano and think he's a genius. His show is real and natural and hysterical and it does have an edge. That's just not one of my talents."

But playing a doughnut-munching celebrity interviewer is. As Variety might put it in a headline: "Glick" clicks.

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

Thursday, June 14, 2001

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