Martin Short may have only been a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” for just one season, but her tenure on the show saved her from the brink of cultural irrelevance. Having already established himself as an all-around performer on “SCTV,” Short signed a one-year deal to join the NBC sketch comedy series during a turbulent time in its history. After executive producer Lorne Michaels left “SNL” in 1980, followed by an infamous season under Jean Doumanian, NBC executive Dick Ebersol took charge in 1981. With the departures of popular players Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo in 1984 and the hip side of the show in question, Ebersol sought a new strategy: to hire known comedic talent at the best price. Short writes in his memoir, “I Must Say,” that he was convinced to join “SNL” because Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer all signed on as players, mingling with newcomers like Julia Louis. -Dreyfuss, Jim Belushi and Mary. Raw.
“SNL” was important to Short’s career and the show, but it came at a price. He told Vulture, “The pressure of the weekly ‘SNL’ format was strong for me, which is why I only did the show for a year.” Armed with his established “SCTV” personas like Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers Jr. and Irving Cohen, Short was a hit on “SNL,” but he writes in “I Must Say” that the grueling production schedule nearly got him quit. before the season was over. He didn’t, but he left after his contract ended. Lorne Michaels returned to “SNL” the following season, his freshness assured once again.