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Actor Martin Short

John Shearer, Associated Press - John Shearer/invision/ap

C.J.: Martin Short softens Gifford gaffe with humor

  • Article by: C.J.
  • Star Tribune
  • September 26, 2012 - 7:34 PM

Martin Short can joke now about Kathie Lee Gifford's gaffe from May when she spoke of the comedian's late wife, Nancy, in the present tense on NBC's "Today Show."

"I think she thought we were taping a re-run," Short told me Wednesday. He dropped that on me so meekly, that I was several seconds realizing he was making a joke! "Yes, I am," he said, unassuming.

Short called me to promote the inaugural Laugh Out Loud Twin Cities, www.LOLTwinCities.org, which he's headlining. It's billed as "a funny fundraiser" for Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. He said he is drawn to organizations that raise money for children.

Festivities begin Saturday with a 5 p.m. VIP event that includes dinner at Minneapolis' Marriott City Center; Short performs at 8 p.m.

Short said he does have Kardashian humor for his performance in the home state of Kris Humphries, whose divorce or annulment from Kim Kardashian is fighting its way through the California legal system.

"Unfortunately, I have lots of Kardashian humor," laughed Short, "but I have to keep it PG."

No video is allowed at the event -- although I can't imagine this applies to TV stations. I asked Short how strictly this policy would be enforced. Will fines be levied against the charity if video surfaces? This was asked because one TV star, or rather his people, threatened to fine a local organization if media even documented his arrival.

"I don't think my rule is quite as hip as that," said Short. "I don't know what I have. It's all my people. We don't want it filmed. Then it's on YouTube."

I told Short that the one time I interviewed Gifford, by phone, she couldn't have been more accommodating.

"Listen, she's a lovely, lovely, lovely lady," Short said. "She really is, and I have known her a long time but she's obviously not that acquainted with me. I think she just screwed up and she felt horrible."

Gifford issued an apology after the interview, which had an awkward air even though Short didn't stop Gifford when she opined that Martin and Nancy had one of Hollywood's great marriages.

"We ... married 36 years," said Short to one Gifford question, and to another: "Madly in love." He did not bring up that Nancy died in 2010.

"Part of it, I didn't mind at all," Short said. "I hate that thing where people are afraid to bring up someone. I'd just gone to my son's graduation from Notre Dame and people would say to me, 'Oh, you did such a great job.' I was thinking, 'I didn't do such a great job. WE did a great job. It's OK, you can mention Nancy.'

"On one level I didn't mind it at all, except she was really just not aware, and on live television promoting a cartoon ['Madagascar 3'] was not the time" for corrections.

With a marriage that great, I wondered if Short was dating again, looking for another great love?

"Oh, that's private stuff," he said. "We're just here to talk about a show benefit."

Hey, thanks, Yanks

You'd have thought I was recording embarrassing footage of NY Yankees leaving a strip club Tuesday when they left their hotel for Target Field, where they got beaten by the Twins.

Shooting this startribune.com video became unnecessarily eventful as these incidents transpired:

1) A hulking Yankees' rep accosted me on the sidewalk outside the hotel, flailing, then flicking my shoulder.

2) A hotel exec came over to let me know "I don't give a crap who you are. ... Media doesn't mean anything to me," and to direct me to the pen in which autograph seekers were held.

3) One of the corralled, hostile autograph guys kept flipping me the bird.

4) Another member of the autograph pen came over to stand in front of my camera and play what I'm calling "Ring Around the Intellectual." We went 'round and 'round while I pretended not to have video of his face.

5) Some scruffy passerby apparently was sicced on me by certain autograph seekers.

So I finished shooting my 58th video for 2012, and possibly my best, from across the street.

It stars non-autograph signers Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and Melky Mesa. Robinson Cano did sign and so did a few others whose identities I couldn't confirm, not even with the help of the Internet and colleagues.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

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