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What’s Steve Martin’s puppy doing?

Two men stand at a microphone in a scene from "Only Murders in the Building."
Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short, Emmy nominees for “Only Murders in the Building.”
(Barbara Nitke / Hulu)

I’m having flashbacks to a summer vacation spent visiting relatives in Texas, specifically to a favorite aunt who covered her furniture in clear plastic so that when you’d return from the five minutes you stupidly went outside, you’d plop down, stick to the surface and need to enlist someone with a spatula to pry you loose.

Yeah ... it’s hot out there.

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of the Envelope’s Friday newsletter and the guy thinking this is the only type of Hot Pocket I want to be thinking about right now.

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Steve Martin, Martin Short talk ‘Murders’ ... and ‘Melrose Place’

Speaking with Steve Martin and Martin Short, who met 36 years ago on the set of “Three Amigos!” and have remained close, goes exactly how you’d imagine. It’s delightful. Their comic antennae are sharply attuned to the small gaps in the conversation that provide an opportunity to poke fun at the other’s foibles. Part of this is performance. But it’s also clear that they take great pleasure in landing a perfectly timed putdown that might generate a smile of appreciation or, who knows?, maybe a laugh. It’s not one-upmanship exactly. More a playful game of tag.

Part of our time together found Martin worried over the whereabouts of his family’s 12-week-old puppy, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Sonny.

“Clearly, he’s been put in charge for the first time ever,” Short says during one of Martin’s fretful checks on Sonny’s whereabouts. We’re puzzled, though. Martin is in a small, spotless room sporting a treadmill and gym equipment — “Have you ever thought of using that?” Short asks him at the outset — and his worry over the puppy doing what puppies sometimes do seems a bit inflated.

“What is going on here? Your whole house is made out of cement! What does it matter if he pees?” Short asks.

Spoiler alert: Sonny remained a good boy throughout the hour.

Two smiling men sit together, with the one on the right leaning his head on the one on the left's shoulder.
Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short, stars of “Only Murders in the Building.”
(Mark Seliger)

‘White Lotus’ looks to dominate limited series Emmys

I was just starting to watch “The Last Movie Stars,” the extraordinary documentary about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, the greatest power couple in Hollywood history, when I saw the briefest, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of the second season of HBO Max’s “The White Lotus” in a preview reel.

Behold: A Champagne toast with Aubrey Plaza, Theo James, Meghann Fahy and Will Sharpe. (Or maybe that’s an Aperol spritz. It’s hard to tell.) Jennifer Coolidge is cruising down the Italian coast on the back of a Vespa! Sicily awaits! But where are Michael Imperioli and F. Murray Abraham? Surely, they’ve earned a drink. And, more important, when does this premiere again? (We don’t know? OK. Fiiiiiiiine. I guess I can wait.)

The first season of the Mike White limited series — next time around at the Emmys, it’ll likely compete in the drama categories — earned a whopping 20 Emmy nominations, including nods for pretty much anyone who had a line in the show. Safe to say, it’s going to win a few, although the lead acting Emmys are up for grabs, as the “White Lotus” ensemble members all submitted their work in the supporting categories. That means an Emmy night Champagne celebration for Michael Keaton and ... well ... read on to see who’s winning in the prime limited series categories.

A man in a suit stands next to an open doorway in "The White Lotus."
Murray Bartlett in “The White Lotus.”
(Mario Perez / HBO)

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Jennifer Coolidge starting to believe she’s a star

While we’re talking about “The White Lotus,” I should direct you to Mary McNamara’s enjoyable interview with its star and soon-to-be Emmy winner, Jennifer Coolidge.

“If stardom is about talent, recognition and audience devotion, Coolidge is a very big star,” Mary writes. “But she is just now starting to believe it. Maybe. Kind of. Almost.”

“It is so weird,” Coolidge says. “Even though I’ve had a lot of training, I never walk off thinking, ‘Wow, I nailed that.’ I’m always insecure. I didn’t think [the ‘White Lotus’ performance] was going that well. I mean I had a great time, it was very cool to be locked up in Hawaii instead of self-destructing somewhere else, but I had no idea. We had no idea.”

They know now, and Coolidge tells Mary how she aced a role she was initially reluctant to accept, zeroing in on her character’s heartbreak over her mother’s death.

“I lost my mother almost 30 years ago, and I am still grieving. I was there when she passed — and it isn’t like it is in the movies,” Coolidge says. “All I had to do was think about it and it was right there, very easy to pull up again. The sadness and the guilt — you think you have so much time and then you don’t.”

A smiling woman with long, blond hair.
Jennifer Coolidge, Emmy nominee for “The White Lotus.”
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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