Steve Martin turned what is normally a routine visit to late-night television into an anxiety-ridden, derisive musical number as the comedian performed a song titled “I Don’t Want to Do This Show” from his dressing room at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“I don’t want to do this show / I used up all my material / I don’t want to do this show,” Martin sang while the Tonight Show audience waited for him. “I used up all my stories / When I was in my 40s / Now I’m 52 years old and I don’t want to do this show.” Martin then mocks the banality of late-night interviews, “Now I must go out there / And sit in the velvet chair / And ask him about his wife and kids and pretend as if I care / I don’t care! No one cares.” Martin eventually decides to “do the show” after realizing it’d be a good way to promote his new musical.
Martin’s Tonight Show visit came just days after he delivered his first set of stand-up comedy in over 35 years. When the comedian finally did sit down on Fallon’s velvet chair, he discussed his surprise performance.
“I did a little sample of stand-up with Jerry Seinfeld – I think that’s how it’s pronounced – and I actually do enjoy doing stand-up, especially now, because life is so busy, it’s hectic, with stand-up I can go out and relax and enjoy the silence,” Martin said. “It was really fun. I was really flattered at first that Jerry asked me to open the show for him. But then, I found out he considered it a double-blind comedy test and I was the placebo.” Martin then polled the audience to determine whether that joke worked or not. Martin then ruminated on the art of the opening line in a stand-up comedy routine.