Martin Short and Jimmy Fallon exchanged hilariously fake tales about actor Bill Paxton on Thursday night during a Tonight Show round of “Word Sneak.” The game’s objective is simple: work a series of random words and phrases into a conversation “as casually and as seamlessly as possible” – and in this case, it led to an extended back-and-forth on Paxton’s back hair and public drunkenness.
In the above clip, Fallon opens by asking Short what it’s like working on Broadway opposite Matthew Broderick in It’s Only a Play. Short sneaks in the word “enchiladas” by discussing the importance of avoiding onstage gas and shoehorns “Cialis” by noting that Broadway performers should “come on strong and hard.”
The game truly takes off when Short is forced to sneak “Bill Paxton” into the bizarre rant. This leads to a story about the actor getting drunk in the audience of Short’s play, getting into a shirtless scuffle with security (and exposing his “back hair”) and wrestling Fallon (whose “feet got stuck to his back hair,” almost as if he were wearing “velcro shoes”).
Times are good for Short. Besides his acclaimed Broadway turn, the actor-comedian released a memoir, I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend, in November and turned heads with his recent role as a druggy dentist in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Inherent Vice. He also appeared as a regular on John Mulaney’s Fox sitcom, Mulaney, which ended its first season this week. More recently, Short appeared with Beyoncé (as portrayed by Maya Rudolph) for an outrageous musical-comedy homage for the epic SNL 40.
Last year, Short spoke to Rolling Stone about his varied accomplishments – and revealed his comedic secrets. “Basically, a funny look is a surefire way to get a laugh,” he said. “That, and falling down.”