A Personal Letter From Steve Martin

My ancient obsession with comedy legend Steve Martin continues to manifest itself. From Letters of Note

Celebrities are faced with a dilemma as their star ascends: the fan mail that used to trickle to the front door now needs its own home, and replying to those messages of support is suddenly a full-time job of its own. A small few battle on valiantly, determined to respond personally to each and every piece of correspondence regardless of the trouble, expense or delay; most, however, take the easy, altogether more sensible route and produce a form letter, to be signed and used as a stock reply for every fan. Impersonal and slightly disappointing, yes, but a response nonetheless.

Trust comedy legend Steve Martin to plump for the latter option but still, thanks to a dab of perfectly pitched humour, come out smelling of roses. Back in the day, he replied to fan mail with “A personal letter from Steve Martin,” a form letter in which just a few words were personalised for each recipient, and which was hilarious precisely for that reason. This particular example was sent to a 17-year-old fan named Jerry Carlson in 1979, the year The Jerk, arguably one of the funniest films he has ever starred in, was released.

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