A Retrospective in Laughs

Andrea Martin
Andrea Martin will bring a one-woman entertainment extravaganza to the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor on Monday. Tim Leyes

    Andrea Martin’s self-proclaimed “hybrid grab-bag” of comedy awaits audiences at the American premiere of her one-woman show, “Final Days! Everything Must Go!” on Monday at 8 p.m. at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor.
    The show is a “retrospective of my career, all in 20 minutes,” the Emmy and Tony Award-winning comedienne joked last week. “It’s a tag sale of comedy, a potpourri of comedy. I tell stories about being a parent, having kids, dating, and non-dating. There’s a 20-minute medley of all the Broadway shows I’ve been in, characters from ‘SCTV’ [the Canadian equivalent of Saturday Night Live], characters from ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ video appearances with Johnny Carson, and there’s a rap song at the end. It’s everything and the kitchen sink.”
    According to Ms. Martin, there will be audience participation as well. “We like to humiliate people in front of other people. I’m looking for two strong and able men. I’ll teach them how to dance a Greek dance. Men really want to go up, they want to get up like the men in ‘The Price Is Right,’ or their wives are pushing them, so either way, you can’t lose,” she said. 
    Ms. Martin attributes much of her show’s success to Seth Rudetsky, the music director, and host of “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, whom she called “the hardest white man working in show business.” The two met on her first one-woman show in 1993 and have collaborated for almost 20 years.
    “When I did that first show it was a very self-reflective time in my life. I had a mission to see if I could be onstage myself. I’d been working with comedy groups,” said Ms. Martin. “This is much more of a party. No life will be changed. I hope they’ll laugh for an hour and 20 minutes.”
    The show, she said, originated from a place of strength and reflects her current state of mind. “It’s a celebration of my life. It’s very empowering to be 64, to be up there creating this and performing,” she said. “It’s the third chapter of my life. I feel good about where I am, so why not get up and share it?”
    Her first big break was on SCTV, followed by roles in “Young Frankenstein” on Broadway, “Fiddler on the Roof,” “My Favorite Year,” “Club Paradise,” and “Breaking Upwards.”
    “I’ve been all over the map,” she said.
    When asked who inspires her, she said “Jane Fonda,” without missing a beat. She “is my idol. She reinvents every age she is. She kept me fit in the ’70s, in my pregnancies, and she’s keeping me fit now.” Ms. Martin praised Ms. Fonda’s autobiography “Prime Time,” in which she talks about navigating her own third chapter in life. “It’s an optimistic outlook,” Ms. Martin said. “That part of your life is of great wisdom. It’s of service, and of what you can give back. This show is a celebration of what I’ve done, and what I can give back to people.”
    As for embracing life’s progression, Ms. Martin said this: “Everybody freaks out when we get older because we keep thinking we’re going to die. At a certain point we think about our mortality. I think everyone is living longer. It’s a great time to stop and be able to listen to yourself and ask yourself, ‘What am I living for?’ We don’t do that when we’re younger. We think ‘What do I do? Who am I dating?’ ” The most profound question, she said, is “What is the purpose of my life? Mine is performing, so why not share that with the world?”            Tickets to Ms. Martin’s show cost $65, or $60 for Bay Street members.