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The current celebrity King of New Media (by some, uh, less measurable metrics) is none other than 65-year-old, white-haired comic genius Steve Martin. Yep, the banjo-playing, fine-art-collecting, novel-writing star of nearly 50 films is absolutely killing it at the keyboard.
Lately Martin (or a staff of brilliant mimics) has taken to the Internet with great pizzaz, to use one of the comedian's preferred expressions. As of late September, the actor's Twitter feed, which he started earlier that month and calls SteveMartinToGo, had already attracted some 185,187 followers and received at least one glowing review from a place that rarely hands out such unironic praise, Gawker.com.
Martin is not the only one in the over-60 crowd to have taken to Twitter --a Time magazine story on the Top Ten celebrity tweeters included director David Lynch and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Martin has been especially clever with his approach to the form.
An early message said: "OMG. President Lincoln has been shot! Wait, whoa, my internet connection is SUH-LOW."
And a recent series of tweets ostensibly chronicled a trip to the mall and an upcoming appearance on CSI. Martin's updates included:
"Rehearsing at home for tomorrow’s CSI cameo, 'face down dead body without a chalk outline.' Maid screams. Wife calls lawyer, then 911."
And then, about three hours later:
"At the mall. Think I’ll do some rehearsing. Lie on sidewalk, get into 'dead guy' character. Quite hard to do without chalk outline."
Martin's inventiveness with the new medium does not come out of nowhere. As a young stand-up comedian in the 1970s, he played endlessly with the idea of performance, of putting on a show, and often broke into a banjo solo mid routine, or pretended to forget to use the mic, or sang out non-sequitors: "Grandpa bought a rubber!"
He brings a similarly winking style to his website. A recent post was titled: "October Tour Ideas Leaked!" The post appeard to be a sheet of lined paper torn from Martin's journal -- at the top of the page it read: "!!! FOR STEVE'S EYES ONLY!!! (Do Not Publish on My Website)"
His notes included a reminder to throw back to the crowd any women's underwear that lands onstage if it is a "poly-blend," and another scrawled message that said, mysteriously: "Nudge pit?"
At the very top of Martin's site a recent tagline alluded to his banjo talents and his perceived failings: "Grammy winner. Webby loser." At this rate, he may need to ammend that last part soon.