The Absent-Minded Waiter

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The Absent-Minded Waiter is a 1977 short film starring Steve Martin, Teri Garr, and Buck Henry. It was written by Martin and directed by Carl Gottlieb. The film was produced by William E. McEuen, who would go on to produce Steve Martin's next six films.

The short was shown at Martin's stand-up shows before he went on, and is included on the 1977 VHS release of Steve Martin Live, now out of print, and on the 2012 DVD box set Steve Martin: The Television Stuff.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

Plot summary[edit]

A couple (Henry and Garr) have gone out to dinner at a fancy restaurant the husband claims has the world's most absent-minded waiter. Martin plays a poor waiter. He has many mishaps, including pouring water before placing down the glasses, forcing the couple to repeat their order of "two martinis" three times, and subsequently bringing them six martinis. The film culminates with the wife becoming angry that she got dressed up, hired a babysitter and then was brought out to a restaurant with such amazingly bad service. The husband pleads with her: "Trust me . . . trust me." Immediately afterwards, the waiter returns with their "change" – $10,000 worth – before the couple had even paid. As they gleefully get up from their chairs to leave, the waiter comes back to ask, "Two for dinner?", to which the wife quickly responds, "Yes, two please," and the couple then sits right back down at their table.

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