Martin Short got a wave of “Saturday Night Live” nostalgia Thursday night on “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” revealing the inspiration behind his Nathan Thurm character, who inhabited a 1985 recurring bit about a shady lawyer who would always avoid hard-hitting interview questions.
“The approach of Nathan Thurm was deny, deny, deny. No, I didn’t. You think I did? That’s so funny you think that,” Short told Meyers during an interview. “He would deny, and then when cornered, reverse and pretend he always knew, and then lash out at the interviewer.”
“Christopher Guest was doing the weekend update and I’d say, I know that. You don’t think I know that? I was there. And by the way, why would I even listen to you? ‘Cause you’re so bland and boring with nothing to offer,” he continued. “It’s exactly what the Washington types do.”
Short said the inspiration for the character actually came from someone on set.
“There was a head of makeup that year,” he said. “She’d look at you, [you’d] sit in the chair and she’d dab. ‘You look tired… none of your features match, this is tough for me.’ Negative energy. And finally, you’d say, ‘Marion, I look a little pale don’t I?’ And she’d say, ‘I know that. You don’t think I know that? I’m a makeup artist, I would know that.'”
“And she always chain-smoked,” he continued. “I put a wire down the middle of mine so when I smoked it the ash would never ever fall off,” he said. “And then I go down to the set and I forget that Marion is going to be there… so she’s over there with her cigarette, I’m over here with my cigarette.”
As they rehearsed the scene, the makeup artist unknowingly echoed Short’s lines.
“The director goes ‘Cut, he’s sweating,'” he said. “And Marion goes, ‘I know that. You don’t think I know that? I’m a makeup artist, I know that.”
Short recalled the moment that she finally confronted him at the end-of-year party.
“She finally found out. Her assistant got drunk after the last show,” he said. “She confronted me at the final party and I said, ‘Marion, you know impersonation is the highest form of compliment!’ And she said, ‘I know that. You don’t think I know that?”
Read original story Martin Short Reveals the Woman Who Inspired His Nathan Thurm ‘SNL’ Character (Video) At TheWrap