|First appearance||"Indecent Exposure - SCTV Movie of the Week: The Nutty Lab Assistant"|
November 12, 1982
|Created by||Martin Short|
|Portrayed by||Martin Short|
Edward Mayhoff 'Ed' Grimley is a fictional character created and portrayed by Martin Short. Developed amongst The Second City improv comedy troupe, Grimley made his television debut on the sketch comedy show SCTV in 1982, leading to popular success for both Short and the persona. Short continued to portray Grimley on Saturday Night Live and in various other appearances. The character also starred in the 1988 animated series The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, as well as appearing in Short's 2012 comedy special I, Martin Short, Goes Home.
Concept and creation
Martin Short originated the character on Toronto's Second City stage as an unnamed school parent in a sketch. Originally, his hair was simply very greasy and unkempt, but another cast member joked offstage that the height of the hair seemed to increase with each performance. In an interview, Short said that he was inspired by a scene from the John Wayne movie McLintock and started greasing it straight up. Short noticed an incidental baring of his teeth raised laughs; that too became a character trait. Over numerous appearances, the character of Ed Grimley began to take shape.
Ed Grimley is an excessively cowlicked, voluble, hyperactive manchild who is obsessed with banal popular culture, particularly Wheel of Fortune and its host, Pat Sajak. He also loves to play the triangle, which for him consists of playing a recorded musical piece, striking the triangle once, and then wildly dancing to the recording. His catchphrases include "I must say", "totally decent", "makes me completely mental," and "give me a break".
Short was added to the cast of Second City's television offshoot SCTV in 1982, debuting the Ed Grimley character in the skit "SCTV Movie of the Week: The Nutty Lab Assistant". Grimley became a SCTV fixture, appearing in the various shows, commercials, promos, and "behind-the-scenes" dramas that made up the fictional channel's programming. After the show's end in 1984, Short moved to the more prominent Saturday Night Live, bringing his breakout character with him.
With Grimley, his best-known original character, Martin Short's popularity on SNL proved to be the springboard to a long career in film and TV. He appeared as Ed Grimley in his 1985 Showtime special Martin Short: Concert For the North Americas, at Comic Relief 1986, and in 1989's I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood. Grimley became a cartoon character in Hanna-Barbera's 1988 animated series The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, featuring Second City colleagues Joe Flaherty (also reprising his SCTV character, Count Floyd), Catherine O'Hara and Andrea Martin as series regulars.
Short briefly revived the Ed Grimley role in his 1995 series The Show Formerly Known As the Martin Short Show, for a spoof of the comedy film Dave, and appeared again in a 1996 episode of Muppets Tonight, in which Grimley marries Miss Piggy to obtain an $85 inheritance from his deceased great-uncle. The character seemingly died later that year on Saturday Night Live, in the skit "Ed Grimley in Heaven", though Grimley is brought back to life by his guardian angel [played by guest star Chevy Chase] after showing a video of Ed Grimley's life and commenting that he needs to do more with it before he can come back to Heaven. Grimley would however make a number of appearances in 1999's The Martin Short (Talk) Show.
Ed Grimley made a brief onstage appearance, triangle in hand, in the 2006 Broadway show Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. He appeared again in 2009's Let Freedom Hum: An Evening of Comedy Hosted By Martin Short. Short reprised his role as Ed Grimley in a Saturday Night Live parody music video of Drake's Hotline Bling in November 2015 on the highly-controversial season 41 episode hosted by then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley
|The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley|
|Based on||Ed Grimley created by Martin Short|
|Directed by||Jim Drake|
|Voices of||Martin Short|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||William Hanna|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Production company(s)||Hanna-Barbera Productions|
SEPP International S.A.
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution (thru WB Family Entertainment and Turner Entertainment)|
|Original release||September 10– December 3, 1988|
Saturday Night Live
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley was a 1988 animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera starring Martin Short's Ed Grimley as well as other characters and actors from Second City's SCTV. Only one season of 13 episodes was produced. Despite the short run, the show is considered the only Saturday morning animated adaptation of both an SCTV character and a Saturday Night Live character (for the latter show, it is actually the second animated adaptation of an SNL recurring character, as NBC once aired a pilot cartoon/animated special of The Coneheads). Episodes featured Ed Grimley in adventures, which start out as mundane, but turn very surreal and cartoonish, interspersed with science lessons from The Amazing Gustav Brothers, Roger and Emil, and a live-action segment with a "scary story" presented as a show-within-a-show by Grimley's favorite television host, SCTV's Count Floyd (played by SCTV cast member Joe Flaherty). Grimley's fellow cartoon characters included Grimley's landlord Leo Freebus (voiced by Jonathan Winters), Leo's wife Deidre (voiced by Andrea Martin), his ditzy, amateur actress neighbor Ms. Malone (voiced by Catherine O'Hara; a female character by the name of Ms. Malone did appear on an SNL version of an Ed Grimley sketch on the season ten episode hosted by Alex Karras, but Ms. Malone was played by that episode's musical guest Tina Turner), and her little brother, Wendell (voiced by Danny Cooksey).
Guest stars on the show included Christopher Guest and SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas. The show also featured the voices of René Auberjonois, Kenneth Mars, and Arte Johnson from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. While not renewed for a second season, the show was seen in reruns in 1996 on Cartoon Network's unnamed pre-Adult Swim-era late-night programming block, which consisted of such shows as Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and reruns of classic Looney Tunes shorts and Hanna-Barbera programming, then The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley reran again on Cartoon Network’s pre-1986 MGM, Warner, Hanna-Barbera and pre-1991 Ruby-Spears cartoon classics channel, Boomerang. Hanna-Barbera sponsored an Ed Grimley look-alike contest midway through the first season, which was won by 10-year-old Matt Mitchell from Des Moines, Iowa.
- Charlie Adler
- René Auberjonois
- Michael Bell
- Susan Blu
- Hamilton Camp
- Robert Ito
- Arte Johnson
- Christina Lange
- Kenneth Mars
- Rob Paulsen
- Dave Thomas
- B.J. Ward
|Nº||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Tall, Dark and Hansom"||10 September 1988|
|Ed fills in for his cousin driving a hansom cab, and ends up in a horse race.|
|2||"Ed's Debut"||17 September 1988|
|Ed mistakenly thinks he is asked to play triangle for the city's philharmonic. On the way to the concert hall, Grimley is arrested and imprisoned for a bank robbery he did not commit.|
|3||"E.G., Go Home"||24 September 1988|
|Ed and Wendall, the annoying brother of his crush -- a ditzy amateur actress named Miss Malone -- go on an amusement park rocket ride, taking them to another planet which is ruled by an alien queen who sounds like Bette Davis.|
|4||"Ed's in Hot Water"||1 October 1988|
|Looking after the apartment building for his landlady Deidre Freebus while she and her husband are on vacation, Ed tries to fix the water heater and ends up going down the drain, into the ocean, and on an island, where he finds a stranded, Amelia Earhart-esque aviator.|
|5||"Crate Expectations"||8 October 1988|
|Ed gets trapped in a crate while trying to get a birthday present for Miss Malone. Meanwhile, Miss Malone, depressed over being passed up for a TV movie and being a struggling actress at 25, meets a guardian angel who shows her what life would be like if she was never born.|
|6||"Grimley, P.F.C."||15 October 1988|
|In the wrong line to return a library book, Ed joins the Army and ends up second banana to a Bob Hope-like USO performer (voiced by Dave Thomas).|
|7||"Moby Is Lost"||22 October 1988|
|Ed's pet goldfish Moby is missing, and Ed hires a television-obsessed sea captain to lead the search.|
|8||"Good Neighbor Ed"||29 October 1988|
|Ed wins a contest but to fulfill the contest rules he needs to take a picture of all of his neighbors. This is the only musical episode.|
|9||"Driver Ed"||5 November 1988|
|Miss Malone needs to learn how to drive and calls upon Ed to teach her, but an accident turns the two into wandering spirits who haunt Mr. Freebus.|
|10||"Blowin' in the Wind"||12 November 1988|
|While on his way to his aunt's house for a game of Monopoly, Ed is caught up in the same tornado that sent Dorothy to Oz, only he ends up on the farm with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry where a traveling summer stock show, with a Jerry Lewis-like director, are hoping for a shot at Broadway.|
|11||"Eyewitness Ed"||19 November 1988|
|Needing "hot dog franks" for a party, Ed makes a run to the store, which resembles the Bates Motel, and witnesses Der Bingle robbing the proprietor (voiced by Eugene Levy) for which he testifies and must go into the Witness Protection Program.|
|12||"Eddy, We Hardly Knew Ye"||26 November 1988|
|Ed goes into the hospital for a tonsillectomy where his roommate is a werewolf (voiced by Christopher Guest).|
|13||"The Irving Who Came to Dinner"||3 December 1988|
|Irving Cohen pays a visit and helps Ed reveal a couple of hucksters.|
Home media releases
On January 29, 2013, Warner Archive released The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store, MoviesUnlimited.com, and Amazon.com. In addition, the episode "Tall, Dark & Hansom" is available on Warners' Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s Volume 1 DVD set, released on May 4, 2010.
- "The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley - The Warner Archive Schedules a 'Complete Series' Set". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16.