Iconic Comedian Martin Short Shares Travel Memories — Including Trips With Famous Friends, Family, and More

The 74-year-old comedian, who was just appointed mayor of Funner, California, also talks about returning to his family’s roots in Ireland.

<p>From left: Courtesy of Martin Short; Troy Doney/Courtesy of Harrah

From left: Courtesy of Martin Short; Troy Doney/Courtesy of Harrah's Resort Southern California

Anything that Martin Short touches turns to fun — and that includes his newest role as the official mayor of Funner — a place that the comedian summed up as being “just funner!”

Yes, his new jurisdiction is a real place — if you plug it into Google Maps, you’ll find yourself at Harrah’s Resort Southern California, a 1,087-room casino hotel, owned by the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians. On August 1, 2016, the tribe unanimously renamed the area and proclaimed itself as the “most fun city in the state of California, if not the entire United States.”

“I think when you have me as mayor, it kind of just ends up in that direction,” the 74-year-old told Travel + Leisure on a Zoom call, while clad in a purple suit on inauguration day earlier this month. “If you made Willem Defoe the mayor, it might be a little more downbeat.”

<p>Courtesy of Harrah's Resort Southern California</p>

Courtesy of Harrah's Resort Southern California

Short told T+L that his first visit to his new jurisdiction was in 2018 when he performed with fellow comedy legend Steve Martin, and that he was simply asked to be mayor.

It's an honor he's well suited for, being fourth in a line of superfun Funner mayors, carrying forth a star-studded legacy. He described inaugural mayor David Hasselhoff, who served from 2017 to 2019, as “an enigma” and called Rob Riggle who led from 2019 to 2022, “hilarious.” As for his predecessor Jane Lynch, who was in the playful office from 2022 to 2024, he sums her up as “genius.”

Short said Lynch offered some essential insight before passing the reigns. “She said try not to embezzle, and I thought that was refreshing,” he said. “And to just be a wacky funster.”

Martin Short

Window or aisle? 
Comedian who would make the best travel buddy?
I'll give it to Steve Martin. 
How do you pass time on a long flight?

The first thing I do is connect to the internet. I always have my laptop open and maybe have the movie going.
Best NYC spot after a day of filming Only Murders in the Building?

My favorite restaurant in New York is Orso on 46th between Eighth and Ninth in the Theater District. I've always liked it. I get the chicken and the glass of white wine.
Any other NYC favorites?

I like Central Park — that's always fabulous because it's endlessly fascinating and beautiful, and [there’s great] people-watching .

Of course that comes easy, as Martin’s energetically hilarious ways have cemented him as one of the greatest comedians of a generation, first making his name in sketch comedy on SCTV and Saturday Night Live, before taking his knack for humor to the big screen in films like Three Amigos, Father of the Bride, and Mars Attacks, before most recently teaming up with his longtime friend Martin on Only Murders in the Building. 

Filming the Hulu mystery in New York City is a homecoming of sorts since he also spent stints in the city on Broadway. But he still calls Los Angeles home, where he’s lived in the same house since 1987. “New York is a heavy city and in L.A., I live in a quieter area,” he said. “I like variety.”

That also includes time back in his native Canada, where he spent the first 30 years of his life. Every summer, he heads back to his cabin on Lake Rosseau in Ontario’s Muskoka mountains.

"It's just like heaven up there,” he said of the region about three hours north of Toronto. “Ontario has endless lakes — it's just beautiful and idyllic.” His favortie activity is letting time dwindle away. “Ideally about three weeks in, you say, ‘Is it Monday or is it Wednesday?’ The gimmick for me is that there’s no schedule.”

He also enjoys sharing his summer home with famous friends, like Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, who all spent time there together last year.

“They are old friends — I’ve known them for 50 years,” he said. “You give them a meal the first night, give them a meal the last night, and the rest are on their own.”

Courtesy of Martin Short
Courtesy of Martin Short

Growing up in Hamilton, about an hour’s drive southwest of Toronto, indulging in the Canadian tradition of cottage life was instilled in him early on, going to places like South Hampton Beach on Lake Huron.

But his ties go beyond North America. Short actually has four passports: American, Canadian, United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland — the latter where he also has ancestral roots.

Last summer, he traveled there with his sons Oliver and Henry for the Notre Dame versus Navy football game at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in August, where they also spent some time teeing off at Seapoint Golf Links. He jokes it was “horrible” traveling with kids, adding “If you met them, you’d know what I mean — I’m telling you, I raised them badly to start with!”

<p>Courtesy of Martin Short</p>

Courtesy of Martin Short

All kidding aside, the trip was especially meaningful because his dad was from Ireland. “We then went up to Crossmaglen in County Armagh, just over the border in the north to visit endless cousins and second cousins, third cousins, and things like that,” he said.

His paternal grandfather was a publican, meaning that he ran a pub. In fact, Shorts Bar, which was established in 1885, still stands there today.

"They close it if I go there and make it a family day,” he said of his family’s namesake pub. “You’re crowded in there with 40 people who all share your DNA.”

It was with his dad that he took one of his first meaningful trips, a world cruise on Holland America Line’s SS Statendam when he was younger. “We left from New York and our first stop was Funchal, Madeira,” the father of three recalled. “I'd never been to Europe so that was insanely cool. Then we went to Spain and Portugal, through the Mediterranean to Morocco and ended up in England and Ireland and back to New York.”

Another early trip that made an impression on Short was a high school trip to New York from Canada. While he doesn’t quite recall the details, he remembered it fondly as his “first trip away.”

It's fitting that he and Martin have returned there for part of the year while they film Only Murders. But the inseparable duo on stage and screen, have been touring together for nearly a decade, including on their current The Dukes of Funnytown tour with dates through November. So it's no surprise that they’ve got their travel routine down pat. “Steve's one of my oldest friends,” he said. “So we finish a show, get on a private plane and fly it to the next place, playing cribbage, and maybe having a glass of white wine.”

After all, they’ve been traveling together for decades. One of the most memorable trips was a European adventure back in 1989 with Short's late wife Nancy Dolman, Martin, and Martin’s wife at the time Victoria Tennant, visiting both the UK and Ireland. “It's all beautiful over there,” he said. “Nothing stands out because it's all fabulous.”

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