Addressing the controversy of his ‘Schmidt’ character, Martin Short speaks out

Tragically, Dr. Fredric Brandt, comically portrayed by Martin Short in ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ ended his own life recently, causing the television media to reflect on the impact of parody on the lives of those being teased.

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Martin Short found himself at the center of this debate, as to whether or not his character portrayal had anything to do with the tragic ending of Brandt’s life. While most reasonable commentary addressed the role as nothing resembling something cruel-intended, and that Dr. Brandt’s own mental condition is to blame for this tragedy, it still caused people to wonder. Brandt’s close friends commented that the doctor was offended at his portrayal, but they never placed any blame on his death directly.

Martin Short spoke with The Omaha World-Hearld recently about the controversy. He eloquently put it in a way that the goal of his character was in no way intended to hurt anyone’s feelings, and that the objective of a parody is mostly just to escalate the humorous angle of real life. He went on to comment that it’s always important to remain sensitive.

“I think you should try to be aware and try to be sensitive, you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.”

But Short also went on to comment that comedy shouldn’t try and restrict itself.

Many others were less graceful, saying that ‘Schmidt’ crossed the line in the portrayal Dr. Brandt. The comments section on a controversial article show some of these contradicting opinions:

“It’s one thing to make jokes at the expense of politicians or other public figures, but when you so publically [sic] insult a civilian, who has spent a lifetime helping people to build a reputation, those actions have very real consequences.”

You can see some of the clips from the show featuring Martin Short’s character below.

You be the judge, did it cross the line?

[image credit: Syracuse]