“Is Martin Short the greatest talk-show guest of all time?” asked The New Yorker a few years ago. What’s next? “Is the Pope the most Catholic dude of all time?” It’s like, duh. (Prove it! Fine.) Last night, Martin Short went on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and, in conversation, told 21 very good, very funny jokes in 4 minutes and 45 seconds. That’s more than four jokes per minute! As New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman noted on Twitter, it was downright Dangerfieldian. And it was entirely unassisted, as Short didn’t need Fallon to do more than say hello, bring up the tour with Steve Martin, mention that Only Murders in the Building got a lot of Emmy nominations, and laugh — acting less like a sparring partner and more like one of those creepy, free-standing torsos that boxers use to work out. After five minutes, Fallon desperately cried no más — saying, “No bits,” and requesting Short throw to the Only Murders clip.
We tallied all the jokes below, but watch the dang clip. The wildest part is he could’ve been singing the whole time, and it would’ve been equally entertaining. The man has more talents he doesn’t display and hilarious stories he doesn’t tell here than the entire cast of [insert a show starring cool young people that I don’t want to name so its fans don’t get mad at me] has on its best day.
1. James Thomas Fallon. My God, your name screams out diversity. It really does.
2. I’m so excited to be here tonight. Although, it could be the Vicodin and Xanax talking, but I don’t think so.
3. In fact, it’s hard for me to express how excited I am to be here tonight, because the Botox is fresh.
4. You know, I haven’t seen you since the big Saudi golf tournament.
5. Who knew that you and the crown prince were such buddies?
6. The giggling and the giggling, and he’s knitting and you’re holding the wool. It’s so beautiful.
7. In fact, tell everyone what you were telling me about why the Proud Boys is so much more than a club. What did you mean by that? What does that mean? What does that mean?
8. Here’s the thing about Jimmy. We do hang out, because we’re not just fake show-business friends. We’re fake friends in real life.
9. [In response to “How is your summer going, though?”] Well, it’s so beautiful. I’ve been up with the loons at my cottage. And do I regret my “Kim and Pete Forever” tattoo? Sure.
10. Oh, and how about this? You know, I was at Mar-a-Lago during the big FBI raid. I’m a member there. I don’t like Trump’s politics, but I love his omelet station.
11. And it’s so great because, if you’re a member, you can just read as many classified documents as you want. They’re all over the place.
12. Oh, I know the Trumps. I used to babysit the kids, for God’s sake. Eric and Don Jr. — we would play Monopoly, but their version is the winner is the first person to yell, “Bankruptcy!”
13. [In response to Fallon bringing up Steve Martin] First of all, he’s the most talented guy in the world, you know. I mean, he does magic. He juggles. He plays the banjo. And yet somehow, he’s famous.
14. We’re a team now. We’re like Florida and a lower-back tattoo.
15. [In response to Fallon asking what he learned from touring with Steve Martin] I’ve learned that he will pay top dollar for clean urine.
16. I’ve learned from him that you don’t need to have a pool to have a pool boy.
17. No, but he is really amazing. He’s such a unique man. You know, he butt-dialed me the other day, which is kind of remarkable ’cause he still has a rotary phone.
18. [In response to Fallon bringing up the Emmys] And I’m just letting you know — I’m making it red-carpet official with Liz Cheney when I go there.
19. You know, Steve and I are nominated. And, you know, if I can’t win, I hope he wins. But I can win, so screw him, you know?
20. If I lose, I’m going to send Will Smith up to slap him.
21. Here’s what’s amazing. If someone had told me 20 years ago that I would be on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with all these Emmy nominations, I would have said, “Jimmy Fallon?”