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Steve Martin wittily pitches in for PBS

Pledge-break messages tend to be something that public television and radio audiences tolerate rather than welcome, but Steve Martin is riding to the rescue with a witty clip he shot for PBS stations to air during fundraising campaigns starting next month.

“Hi, Steve Martin again,” he says at the top of the clip. “You know I’m not just asking you to make a pledge to PBS. I’m also asking my celebrity friends. Right now I’m going to text Tom Hanks, my big celebrity friend.”

The response Martin reads when his cellphone dings isn’t quite what stations look for, but the bit refreshingly avoids the stiff testimonials that typify these campaigns.

The comedian and filmmaker turned Grammy Award-winning bluegrass musician will be featured in his first live concert for television in "Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Live" premiering March 4 on PBS' Great Performances. In the pledge-break clip, he displays a copy of a video of the performance that will be offered as a donation premium. 

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“When you contribute and get your DVD,” he says, “you will also get uncontrollable muscle movements like head-nodding and foot-tapping, a feeling of euphoria…,” continuing like a fast-paced patent medicine pitch man.

Here’s the clip, which also premieres March 4 and will be aired on all PBS TV stations, according to a spokeswoman. Donate accordingly.

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

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