By Jeff Labrecque
Updated September 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM EDT

Steve Martin has been making people laugh so hard for so long that some — especially younger audiences — might not fully appreciate just how pure and fresh his early comic work was. Before the Oscars, before Father of the Bride, before Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, even before The Jerk, Martin was a total force of nature whose main platform was television, beginning with writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. In his wild and crazy prime, an appearance by Martin on Johnny Carson or other primetime showcase was insane, yet so carefully crafted. When he hosted Saturday Night Live or had a stand-up special, there was such an element of unpredictability that you simply had to watch.

Shout! Factory has packaged together some of those classic TV moments in a new DVD out today. Steve Martin: The Television Stuff is three discs packed with hard-to-find bits and TV specials, including Homage to Steve, which features his entire 1979 live performance at the Universal Ampitheatre. Also included in the set is an new interview with Martin.

For those who need a quick taste of some vintage Martin, Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive clip of one of HBO’s On Location stand-up specials from 1976. Enjoy.

Rabid fans with quick fingers can even get their copy signed by Martin himself, if they’re one of the first 100 to order from Shout! Factory.


On Location With Steve Martin (1976)

Steve Martin’s HBO special was recorded as one of the network’s “On Location” series of stand-up comedy specials. Taped on October 31, 1976, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, this previously unreleased show provides a rare and uncensored look at Martin’s early act.

Steve Martin: A Wild And Crazy Guy (1978)

Steve Martin’s first network special for NBC originally featured a mix of comedy sketches and concert footage shot at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. Because that concert is included in its entirety on Disc 2, most of it was edited out of this program. Sketches include: Martin as “Turtle Boy,” rodeo-riding a giant turtle; Martin hosting a variety show on which Johnny Cash discusses his research in astronomy; and Martin five years later as a drunken bum.

Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty (1980)

Steve Martin’s second NBC special was made up entirely of sketches. Highlights include: Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” with monkeys; “The Death of Socrates”; and “Bizarre Oddities of the World.” With Special Appearances by Marty Allen, Richard Deacon, Joyce DeWitt, Phil Foster, Peter Graves, Werner Klemperer, Meredith MacRae, Gary Mule Deer, Louis Nye, Regis Philbin, Carl Reiner and Dick Schaap.

Bonus Feature: Comments From Steve


All Commercials . . . A Steve Martin Special (1980)

Steve Martin’s third NBC special serves as a salute to 1970s television commercials. Taking shots at everything from “Suzy Chapstick” to Palmolive to advertising agencies, this special showcased Martin’s genius for physical comedy. Guest stars include Julie McWhirter Dees, Antonio Fargas, Julann Griffin, Anne Lockhart, Louis Nye; Pat Proft, Paul Reubens, The Dirt Band and Robert Klein.

Steve Martin’s Best Show Ever (1981)

Steve Martin’s fourth NBC special was in the spirit of his previous association with Saturday Night Live. It was broadcast live from Studio 8H, produced by Lorne Michaels and featured some original cast members of the show. With special appearances by Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gregory Hines, Laraine Newman, Lynn Redgrave, Lauren Hutton, Bill Murray and Paul Shaffer.

Homage To Steve (1984)

Originally released in 1984 but never appearing before on DVD, this show features Martin’s full LIVE performance at the Universal Amphitheatre from September 28, 1979, marking the only video footage that exists of his mature stage act from the late 70s. The show also includes his Oscar®-nominated short The Absent-Minded Waiter (with Terri Garr, 1977), and “The Comedians Segment” with Paul Simon, David Letterman, Alan King and Henny Youngman.

Bonus Feature: Comments From Steve


Bits And Pieces (1966-2005)

A collection of Steve’s television guest appearances, speeches and music videos.

Steve’s Lifetime Achievement Acceptance Speech The American Comedy Awards (2000)

Steve Plays the Banjo in his 1st Television appearance – Dusty’s Attic (1966)

Music Video: “What I Believe” from The Steve Martin Brothers Album (1981)

Music Video: “Freddie’s Lilt” from The Steve Martin Brothers Album (1981)

Las Vegas Act Parody The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson (9/19/74)

Jean-Pierre Louey: The French Johnny Cash The Johnny Cash Christmas Special (1978)

Steve Martin’s Holiday Wishes Saturday Night Live (12/6/86)

Ode to a Loved One Saturday Night Live (5/20/89)

Steve’s Penis Beauty Créme Saturday Night Live (9/24/94)

Steve’s Tribute to Gene Kelly AFI Lifetime Achievement: A Tribute To Gene Kelly (1985)

Best Actor In A Comedy Acceptance Speech The People’s Choice Awards (1992)

The Great Flydini The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson (5/6/92)

Steve’s Paul Simon Tribute The Kennedy Center Honors (2002)

The Making of The Steve Martin Appearance The Late Show With David Letterman (12/1/95)

Steve’s Acceptance Speech The Mark Twain Prize For American Humor (2005)

Bonus Feature: Comments From Steve

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Episode Recaps

Saturday Night Live - Season 42

Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

  • TV Show
  • 46
  • TV-14
  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
  • Lorne Michaels
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