Legends Steve Martin, 76, and Martin Short, 72, first met in the mid-1980s when they joined forces on Three Amigos!, and they quickly developed a zany rapport that called to mind some of the great double acts in comedy history. Over the years, they’ve collaborated on sketches and films, live tours and variety specials. Those decades of chemistry culminated in one of the surprise sitcom hits of the past few years, Hulu’s true-crime-inspired Only Murders in the Building, which returns for its much-anticipated sophomore season this month. Here, a timeline of their most side-splitting, gut-busting collaborations, from Three Amigos! to their current tour.
Three Amigos! (1986)
The premise: When bandits start terrorizing the Mexican village of Santo Poco, the townspeople reach out to an unlikely trio of silent Western film stars — whom they believe to be real heroes — for help. Lucky Day (Martin), Ned Nederlander (Short) and Dusty Bottoms (Chevy Chase, 78) misinterpret the plea as a job offer, so they break into the studio to suit up in their cowboy getups and head south of the border, where they find themselves facing off against a gang of outlaws. Critics didn’t love the comedy when it was released in 1986, but it’s since emerged as a cult favorite.
The best part: For a touch of the trio’s famed physical comedy, you can’t beat the scene in which they taste tequila for the first time and then perform the song “My Little Buttercup” for a saloon full of menacing banditos.
Saturday Night Live (1975-)
The premise: NBC’s long-running sketch show played a huge role in the early careers of both comedians: Martin Short was a cast member for one season (1984-85) after moving over from the Canadian equivalent, SCTV, while Steve Martin has hosted or showed up in quick guest spots nearly three dozen times since the ’70s. Surprisingly, the pair never shared a stage during Short’s brief stint, but they hosted together alongside Chevy Chase on Dec. 6, 1986. Over the years, they’d continue returning for cameos, especially in the recurring Five-Timers Club sketches, in which Steve is an esteemed founding member with 15 hosting spots under his belt and Martin is a lowly waiter (he’s only hosted three times).
The best part: Their 1986 joint monologue is a thing of irreverent beauty, especially the bit about Chevy’s recent stint in rehab.
Father of the Bride (1991), Part II (1995) and Part 3 (ish) (2020)
The premise: In this remake of the classic 1950 film of the same name, Steve Martin stars as shoe company owner George Banks, who begins to panic when his daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley, now 50), announces she’s getting married. Hilarity ensues as he and his wife, Nina (Diane Keaton, 76), plan the big day, and Short steals scenes as the eccentric wedding coordinator Franck Eggelhoffer, who’s loosely based on the real-life event planner to the stars Kevin Lee. They teamed back up in 1995 for the sequel, in which Franck plans the dual baby showers of Nina and Annie, and then once again in 2020 for the pandemic-era “mini-sequel,” which took the form of a Zoom family reunion.
The best part: After George expresses concern about the $1,200 price tag for the wedding cake, Franck delivers his famous line, “Well, welcome to the ’90s, Mr. Banks!”