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Steve Martin

Hosting sponsor - Working as a Disneyland concessionaire in his teens, comedian Steve Martin picked up skills in "a little of this, a little of that:" juggling, tap-dancing, sleight of hand, balloon sculpting. He then attended UCLA, where he majored in philosophy and theatre, moving on to staff-writer stints for such TV performers as Glen Campbell, The Smothers Brothers, Dick Van Dyke, John Denver, and Sonny and Cher.

Occasionally allowed to perform as well as write, Martin didn't go into standup comedy full time until the late 1960s, when he moved to Canada and appeared as a semi-regular on the syndicated TV variety series Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour. As the opening act for rock stars in the early 1970s, Martin emulated the fashion of the era with a full beard, shaggy hair, colorful costumes and drug jokes. Comedians of this ilk were common in this market, however, so Martin carefully developed a brand-new persona: the well groomed, immaculately dressed young man who goes against his appearance by behaving like a lunatic. By 1975, he was the Comic of the Hour, convulsing audiences with his feigned enthusiasm over the weakest of jokes and the most obvious of comedy props (rabbit ears, head arrows). His entire act a devastating parody of second-rate comedians who rely on preconditioning to get laughs, Martin became internationally famous for such catchphrases as "Excu-u-use me!," "Happy feet!," and "I wild and crazy guy!" It was fun for a while to hear audiences shout out those catchphrases before he'd uttered them, but before long Martin was tired of live standup and anxious to get into films

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