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Facts We Just Learned About Steve Martin That Made Us Say 'Really?'

Updated May 20, 2021 9.4k votes 2.4k voters 175.5k views15 items

List RulesVote up the most fascinating facts about Steve Martin.

Most people know the name Steve Martin, especially if you have ever watched any of his comedies from the '80s and '90s. However, did you know that Martin’s real name is Stephen Glenn Martin and that he is more than just an actor? He also happens to be a comedian, playwright, musician, and producer. Martin has continued to bring joy and laughter to many people globally during his lengthy and distinguished career. With such an influential presence in Hollywood, it’s surprising that there are many facts about him that we don’t know.

Vote up the facts about this enthralling comedian that are most fascinating and surprising to you.

  • Photo: Saturday Night Live / NBC

    He Was Never Actually An ‘SNL’ Cast Member

    Although Martin was one of the most iconic faces to appear on the Saturday Night Live show, and has had a long run on the show at various times, he was never actually an SNL cast member. He is a close friend of many of the cast members and writers, but he has never been a cast member himself. It is believed he was never officially asked to join the team because when the show first aired in 1975, Martin was not famous enough to win one of the coveted spots.

    However, Martin has impressively hosted the show 15 times, and he has appeared as a guest on the show more than ten times. Arguably this is where the confusion comes into play as he was a frequent face on the show; people automatically presume he was a cast member, but that is unfortunately not the case.

  • Photo: Saturday Night Live / NBC

    He Popularized Air Quotes After Using Them On ‘SNL’

    For decades air quotes have been a popular hand signal that millions of people use daily. Famously, former president Donald Trump has often been seen using "air quotes" during many of his presidential speeches. This hand signal depicts quotation marks and is often utilized to indicate when something is ironic or when someone is mocking someone else.

    Without thinking about it, air quotes may seem like something that's just been around forever. However, comedian Martin is often credited with originally coming up with the hand movement. According to accounts, Martin first made the universal gesture when he began to use the gesture during his performances on Saturday Night Live.

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    He Has Actually Won Five Grammys

    Even as someone who has as much talent as Martin, it can still be surprising that he has won five Grammy awards during his career. The first Grammy he ever received was for the song "Let’s Get Small,” which was nominated in the Best Comedy Album category in 1977. He earned his second Grammy in 1979 in the same category for the song “A Wild and Crazy Guy."

    The third Grammy he received he shares with Earl Scruggs. The pair won the Grammy in the category Best Country Instrumental Performance for the song “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in 2001. Martins’s fourth Grammy came from his album The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo in 2010, which was nominated in the Best Bluegrass Album category. Thus far, his fifth and last Grammy, which he shares with Edie Brickell, was awarded to him in 2014 in the Best American Roots Song category for their song “Love Has Come for You.”

  • Photo: Bill Nye the Science Guy / Buena Vista Television

    Bill Nye, The Science Guy, Started His Eventful Career In Entertainment Because He Won A Steve Martin Lookalike Competition

    Bill Nye is fondly known as the "Science Guy" because of his extensive scientific knowledge and impressive comedic skills displayed in a show of the same name. Many younger generations watched Bill Nye videos in science class while growing up, but entertainment wasn't always his intended career path. Interestingly, Nye got his big break when he decided to visit a comedy club in Seattle. At the time, Nye was just an engineer working at Boeing, but that fateful decision set a new course for his life and career. The day that Nye went to the comedy club, they were hosting a Martin lookalike contest, and he decided to enter it thinking that he couldn’t possibly win.

    Much to his surprise and delight, he won the contest, and a comedic passion unfurled within him. After his win, Nye began submitting comedy writing with the help of Ross Shafer. It was Shafer who suggested taking a science angle on his bits, and if it weren't for that suggestion, he might never have decided to merge his love for science and comedy, creating one of the most recognizable characters.