STEVE MARTIN: Yeah there was. And the amazing thing was, you know, although the songs were released in 1981, they were really recorded in 1972. So they were already ten years old. So I was happy to get them out then but, you know, that was sort of a dead record. So I was - when we started to rerecord them, first I had to relearn them because I - some of them I couldn’t even remember how to play.
But I was pleased to hear that they still worked and they still work onstage. So like Saga of the Old West, you know? And it’s really fun to play that onstage. And that’s actually the bigger thrill now. It’s like wait until you hear this. You know, you get that feeling. It’s sort of a feeling I had when I first started in comedy and thought I was really good, although I wasn’t. But I think wait until you see this. And I have that feeling onstage. I’m very happy that the songs are working.
What are the biggest differences between the collaborative process of making music and the more solitary process of creating comedy?
STEVE MARTIN: Well, you know, comedy is a collaboration between your own head and the audience. And I mean - but it’s very solitary. And your music is initially a collaboration with your own head.
And then it becomes a collaboration with, you know, other musicians and people’s suggestions.
And it’s really nice to be in a group of five people and hear everybody operating without ego, and saying I think this and you’ll take a break there, and you’ll take a break there.
And then we’ll all come together here. And, you know, when I was onstage I was alone when I was doing comedy. And here I’ve got five other people. And it’s really, in a nice way, less pressure.
What it’s like for you to perform live as a musician versus what it was like performing as a standup comic?
STEVE MARTIN: If I were performing comedy on this tour, I mean exclusively, I would be much more nervous than I am. Because, you know, a song lasts three minutes and the joke lasts six seconds. So you’re really, you’re always thinking when you’re doing comedy it’s what’s next, what’s next, what’s next and I always did that alone, I was always performing alone.
Here you’ve got a band, you can chat with people, it’s - get into a song, lose yourself in the song. So I actually view it as easier to do music and to do comedy for me.
Does performing in front of a live audience ever make you want to try standup again?
STEVE MARTIN: I don’t really have a reason to. It’s strange, I just don’t have a reason to do standup. I do enjoy the comedy little bits we have in the show, I enjoy that and --- but I -- it’s such a tough job. It would always be a blend of banjo at this point, I think.
STEVE MARTIN FEATURING THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS, WITH HUMORIST DAVE BARRY | Wang Theater, 270 Tremont St | October 7 at 8 pm | $39 - 75 | (617) 482-9393 or visit www.citicenter.org/
Chris Garcia is a stand up comedian, comedy writer, and producer based in San Francisco, CA. A version of this article ran on Rooftop Comedy.com.