Before he became one of America’s top comic actors, Steve Martin was one of the biggest phenoms stand-up has ever seen. During the 1970s, the prematurely grey comedian and longtime television writer scored million-selling records, sold out arenas, and hosted numerous network specials. In 1978, Martin even scored a hit record, cracking the Billboard top 20 with “King Tut,” his novelty ode to the mummy fad sweeping the nation. While he played up his zany arrow-through-the-head persona, his wider appeal rested on a subtle, yet ever-present intellectualism. Martin studied philosophy in college, and an existential sense of the absurd ran through his oddball observations. In the ‘80s, the original wild and crazy guy officially announced his permanent retirement from stand-up.
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