Before becoming a Hollywood A-list actor, Steve Martin first made a name for himself as a writer for a number of successful stateside television variety shows. His résumé included credits on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Glen Campbell Hour, and -- during a brief stint living in Canada -- the influential Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour. By the mid-'70s Martin had paid his dues opening for rock acts and had begun to develop a highly original alternative to the typical pseudo-hip sex and drug humor of the era. Let's Get Small, Martin's debut long-player released in 1977, would further assert his anti-comedy act with a platter full of smart wordplay and aural jousting, as well as some of the artist's remarkable banjo picking and frailing. In fact, Martin kicks off the festivities with the witty "Ramblin' Man/Theme from Ramblin' Man" number, firmly establishing his multifaceted lightning-quick wit -- like dividing the room into two-sevenths and five-sevenths to participate in a mile-a-minute singalong. He one-ups the typical smarmy "Vegas" lounge act by making comparisons to the $4.50 price of admission (in 1977 dollars) to the $25 price tag of experiencing a show on the Sin City strip. The title performance of "Let's Get Small" is a clever parody of the experimental nature of the perpetually growing drug culture -- which is particularly appropriate as Martin is addressing denizens of the Boarding House nightclub in San Francisco. During "Excuse Me," he goes so far as to direct his satire at any residual hippies who might still be hanging around the venue, blaming them for the lack of functioning "mood lighting." This short bit ultimately launched one of the entertainer's most enduring catch phrases. "Mad at My Mother" is as close to a straight narrative as listeners can expect on Let's Get Small, taking a few surrealistic spins on the typical mother-son relationship. Similarly, the weird and whimsical "Grandmother's Song" reveals Martin's penchant for silly verbal non sequiturs as if they were nothing out of the ordinary. Let's Get Small was one of the rare comedy endeavors to find a mainstream audience during the height of the disco era, climbing all the way to a very respectable number ten on the pop chart and setting the stage for Martin's follow-up, 1978's A Wild and Crazy Guy.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer