Martin Short on being fat -- The star of ''Jiminy Glick in Lalawood'' talks about his new film and future projects

By Josh Wolk
Updated May 09, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Jiminy Glick in Lalawood

  • Movie

As master of the uninformed celebrity interview, Martin Short’s corpulent creation, Jiminy Glick, could be a takeoff on any local movie junketeer from Boise to Birmingham. But they weren’t the inspiration for his clueless alter ego. ”Some people have asked me if [Jiminy] was an ax to grind,” says Short, who’s met countless interviewers while publicizing everything from 1986’s Three Amigos to his 2003 stage role in The Producers in L.A. But they weren’t his main target. ”I could have made Jiminy a school principal. Or press secretary to someone like Bush. He’s any moron with power.”

Now Glick has made the power move from Comedy Central’s Primetime Glick, which ended its three-season run in 2003, onto the big screen — the only one large enough to fit his talent and rear end. Jiminy Glick in Lalawood (opening May 6) finds Glick at the Toronto film festival with his wife, Dixie (Jan Hooks), where, between oblivious Q&As with the likes of Kurt Russell and Sharon Stone, he stumbles onto a murder. The cast improvised the film off a 40-page outline, a job made tougher by trying not to laugh at Short. ”The dialogue editor had a lot of trouble cutting round the crew laughter,” says director Vadim Jean. ”It’s a hysterical character I hope will be his Austin Powers.”

To capture the glamour of Jiminy’s paparazzi- and hors d’oeuvres-filled adventures, Glick grilled such stars as Kiefer Sutherland on Toronto’s actual red carpets in 2003. While the studios were thrilled to see, say, Billy Bush there, they were more apprehensive about Glick. ”Some of the films’ [reps] said, ‘Jiminy’s going to take too much focus,”’ remembers Short. ”I said, ‘Oh, no, I’ll fit in the backdrop.’ And the next day in the Toronto Star there’d be a big picture of Jiminy and their film would get” — he cringes — ”this tiny box.”

It takes 90 minutes to attach Glick’s prosthetic jowls and John Davidson mane, but once he’s swallowed by the fat suit, he is the master of infauxtainment. ”It sounds icky, but I can really lose myself in this character,” Short says. ”Sometimes I see myself use phrases as him that I would never use, like ‘I take great umbrage!’ I’ve never used ‘take great umbrage’ in my life!”

After Lalawood, Short is retiring Glick, and he’s currently co-writing a Broadway musical for himself, If I’d Saved I Wouldn’t Be Here. (Ed Grimley and other characters from his SCTV and Saturday Night Live days will cameo.) Short likes the spotlight, where he can both embrace and genially mock all things celebrity. (The exuberant, ”more applause, please” persona he blasts on his memorable talk-show appearances is an affectionate tweak at every needy, self-involved star since kinescopes.) ”Jiminy’s last line in the movie is ‘What have I learned? Oh, yes: Celebrities can be dull,”’ says Short. ”I always wanted to change that, saying ‘I’ll come up with something better.’ But I kept coming back to it. The whole [showbiz] thing is so shallow. But it’s fun.”

Episode Recaps

Jiminy Glick in Lalawood

  • Movie
  • R
  • 90 minutes