Kathie Lee to Martin Short How's Your Wife ... Who Died 2 Years Ago

5/30/2012 10:47 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It might be the most cringeworthy few seconds in TV history -- Kathie Lee Gifford asked Martin Short how his wife is doing ... one small problem ... she died 2 years ago.

Martin appeared on "The Today Show" this morning to promote his new movie, "Madagascar 3" -- when Kathie asked, "And you and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?"

Martin doesn't know how to respond, saying, "We ... have ... married ... 36 years."

Apparently Kathie didn't get the memo -- Martin's wife Nancy Dolman died in August 2010 from ovarian cancer.

The clip gets even worse -- you have to watch.

Kathie later apologized on the air -- saying, "I feel so badly ... my apologies to him and his family."