How Did ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Stars Steve Martin and Martin Short Become Close Friends?

Steve Martin and Martin Short play new friends in Hulu‘s Only Murders in the Building, but their friendship goes back 35 years in real life. It all started in 1986 when the two comedians worked on their first film together. How did Martin and Short become such good friends, and what have they done together over the years?

Steve Martin and Martin Short stand outside a building in New York
Steve Martin and Martin Short | James Devaney/GC Images

How did Steve Martin and Martin Short meet?

Martin and Short first starred together alongside Chevy Chase in 1986’s Three Amigos. The Western comedy followed three silent actors who visited a Mexican village to perform a bandit fighting routine. However, thanks to a big misunderstanding, they found themselves battling a real bandit.

Short explained to PBS in 2020 that he first met Martin when he visited his house to get the film’s script.

“I went to Steve’s house to pick up a script for Three Amigos. I couldn’t believe how great and beautiful this house was, a Picasso here and a Bacon there,” Short revealed. “And I said to Steve: ‘How did you get this rich because I have seen your work?'”

“I said, ‘Could you get this script to Marty Short?'” Martin added.

From that moment, Martin said they had an “instant comedy rapport” and became inseparable. Their days at work turned into family dinners and annual vacations in St. Barts.

Short explained that many actors become friends while working together, but they often lose touch after the project is over. However, for these two, that wasn’t the case.

“You are intensely involved in everyone’s gossip. And if they’re having an affair on set, you want to hear about it. And then you never see them again,” he said. “But, sometimes, you say, I don’t want to lose that person. And, certainly, that was the case with Steve and myself.”

What other movies were Steve Martin and Martin Short in together?

After Three Amigos, Martin and Short reunited on the big screen for 1991’s Father of the Bride, in which Martin played the father, George, and Short played the wedding planner, Franck. The film received a follow-up, Father of the Bride Part II, in 1995. In 1998, the two did voiceover work for The Prince of Egypt.

Martin and Short have also stood beside each other multiple times on the comedy stage. Martin appeared on Short’s sketch show, The Martin Short Show, in 1999. The friends also featured in a Netflix special, An Evening You Will Forget For the Rest of Your Life, in 2018. In 2021, Martin and Short are traveling on a comedy tour called The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment.

“Marty just kept following me,” Martin told The Guardian.

When it comes to their work, Martin and Short don’t often feel a sense of competition. In fact, speaking to The Guardian, they had nothing but kind words about each other.

“Marty is just truly very, very funny – and he has so many friends! On his birthday, his phone is like: ‘Ding! Ding! Ding!’ Oh, look, Steven Spielberg has sent over a birthday show for Marty!” Martin said.

“If Steve were just a humorous guy without being a highly decent, admirable man, then it would be a different kind of relationship. But Steve is a very loyal, wise, kind, smart person to hang out with,” Short added.

The best friends play strangers in ‘Only Murders in the Building’

In Only Murders in the Building, Martin and Short play Charles and Oliver, respectively, a former TV detective and Broadway theater director. The two live as strangers toward each other in an apartment building until a murder occurs. Realizing their shared love of true crime podcasts, they join forces to solve the crime. Selena Gomez rounds out the trio of crime-solvers as Mabel.

Speaking to the Reno Gazette Journal, Martin revealed that Gomez is a “perfect” match for him and Short.

“It’s a perfect balance from us. We didn’t know what to expect — we only knew her as a musical talent,” he said. “But she just fit right in. Marty and I have two-way chemistry, but when she came on, now there’s three-way chemistry. Everyone has a position that’s unique among the three of us.”

Only Murders in the Building is now available on Hulu. New episodes launch on Wednesdays.

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