Steve Martin: Was I boring? Maybe
December 6th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

Steve Martin: Was I boring? Maybe

Steve Martin is getting the last word on his recent 92nd Street Y interview that resulted in disappointed ticketholders receiving a full refund.

As Marquee reported last week, fans expected Martin to talk about his life and career during the event – which was also broadcast on closed-circuit TV – but the funnyman spoke only about his appreciation of art and his new book, "An Object of Beauty." Those watching on TV sent angry emails to the Y, and Martin's interviewer, Deborah Solomon, was handed a note to switch the topic to Martin's career. The next day, the Y told the 900 ticketholders they would receive a refund.

Now, in a New York Times piece penned by Martin, he is having his say about the incident.

"When I arrived for Monday’s talk, I was informed that it would be telecast on closed-circuit TV across the country. What I wasn’t told was that the viewers were going to be encouraged to send in e-mails during the discussion; what I didn’t expect was that the Y would take the temperature of those e-mailed reactions, and then respond to them by sending a staff member onstage, mid-conversation, with a note that said, 'Discuss Steve’s career,' " he says. "This was as jarring and disheartening as a cell phone jangle during an Act V soliloquy."

Martin – who claims he would rather have "died on stage" talking about art than answer the "predictable" questions submitted by fans - says he was completely thrown by the interruption and found it difficult to get back on track.

"I have no doubt that, in time, and with some cooperation from the audience, we would have achieved ignition," he says. "I have been performing a long time, and I can tell when the audience’s attention is straying. I do not need a note."

More importantly, 65-year-old Martin says he can't help but wonder where the conversation might have went if he hadn't been forced to change the subject.

"If the e-mailers could have lived with 'I am unamused' for just a little longer, or had given us some understanding based on past performance, or even a little old-fashioned respect, something worthwhile, unusual or calamitous might have emerged."


soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. nellie

    What is wrong with people??? I would've LOVED to have heard him speak about art and his new book! He is so talented and smart in so many ways...does he have to be 'on' all the time? I hope he doesn't let this experience bring him down...Steve, those people are idiots...you're not! Keep writing and playing the banjo and making movies and inspiring me!!! xoxo

    December 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Charlotte Crane

    Steve Martin can be very funny The Jerk is one of the funniest movies ever. Steve Martin is also very intelligent and an amazing writer. I have never seen someone who can write so many diverse pieces. He did Shop Girl, LA Story, and a play about Picasso. I would have loved to have heard Steve Martin speak about real things that he has a passion for and not just his career. Sadly most people in this country have to have everything dumbed down for them and can't follow a conversation about something other than the King Tut song. I applaud Steve for trying to show multiple layers of his personality.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • laurien

      Steve Martin has one of the most important collections of Americana art, including Edward Hopper. I saw one of his exhibitions when I was in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, it was amazing. It's terrible that a reknown man can't talk about things that he has a passion for without people demanding to see the clown they've typecast him as. He has a broader scope, and he's shown it. The whole thing is just unfortunate. No one should be getting their money back. If it was a book talk, his book was about art.

      December 7, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gerry

    Steve is a pro. Occasionally he might just be smarter than the room. The chances he and the audience take during entertainment.

    December 6, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    "...where the conversation might have went..."

    Mark Marino, did you complete the second grade? This is atrocious! Can you not construct even a simple English sentence correctly?

    December 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B. K. from Hawaii

    Steve Martin has always been a talented gifted person as others are in the world of entertainment. No matter what people say evryone's, got their own opinon.. As for my enjoyable moments, anything involving Mr. Martins' talents, you can always count on me sitting in on that moment of his abilities of entertaining everyone. Keep it up Steve... I'll always be your biggest fan!!! Aloha & Mahalo!

    December 6, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    The most offensive thing in this article is the use of the phrase "might have went" by CNN. At which community college are they recruiting these days?

    December 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jill

    I attended the Steve Martin event...the audience was displeased with Debbie Solomon's interview NOT Mr. Martin. She was scattered, self serving and continually cut him off...we wanted to hear Mr. Martin's thoughts NOT hers. She seemed to think she was the star of the evening....people in the surrounding rows echoed this...rather vocally and angrily while exiting the theatre.

    December 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. un1k3n

    Wow. A news article about an op-ed piece, mostly cpntaining quotes from the op-ed. Truly lazy reporting.

    December 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Julian Assange

    I wear womens underwear 24/7

    December 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Julian Assange

    I am the most boring!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve Martin's so over

    I used to be a fan until he took up the banjo and started labeling himself a Renaissance man. He's so pretentious. I've gone completely 180 on him. What a phoney, stuck-up snob.

    December 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    "Was I boring? Maybe"

    You have been since around 1982.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. alabama *10*

    Alright sardeens!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Beth

    I was always under the impression that this particular program @ the Y really catered to more intellectual conversations- perhaps not.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. darthmol

    it would have been nice if the actual audience could have participated in a conversation. instead, he gets a note from a bunch of dorks emailing in? get off the damn computer & be present!

    December 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Name*j3tuck

    Steve is an outstanding artist in aspect of the ward .

    December 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  17. yopd

    I blame the cleaning woman.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Be Quiet

    Well said, Mr. Martin.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  19. SteveFartin

    I used to really enjoy Steve Martin, but I honestly couldn't watch the Pink Panther all the way through, for how dumb it was. It showed me that he just isn't that funny. I guess I will just have to remember him when he was actually funny. Now he just seems desperate for roles. RIP Steve

    December 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CramIt

      Perhaps you can address your sincere disappointment in Mr. Martin's decline in amusing you at your next TED lecture.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Heather

    I love Steve. I think he has great talent not just as a comic. Sadly, he is also a tortured soul and this situation will sit heavy on his heart for a long time.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  21. J

    I don't think he's boring...he's one of the funniest people on tv....in movies....I think he's great!!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  22. sue

    zzzzzz... get over yourself, your a comic!

    December 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  23. zbtrocker

    He's 65. He's probably tired of talking about The Jerk and Plains, Trains, and Automobiles.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  24. GrammarWatch

    "More importantly, 65-year-old Martin says he can't help but wonder where the conversation might have went if he hadn't been forced to change the subject."

    I can't help but wonder where the conversation might have GONE, myself.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • tpfo

      thanks -- you beat me to it!

      December 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Thanks - I couldn't believe I read such a badly written sentence. Where have all the good editors gone?

      And where have all the patient and educated listeners gone? When did we start running everything like an audience-voting reality show?

      December 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • twiddly

      All the bestest of everything have went to the foxy newsy.
      Glenn Beck has went, Sarah Palin have goned, all the most best.

      December 7, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  25. linsey

    I agree with Steve Martin. He's not a one~trick pony who only does stand up, King Tut, or banjo tunes. He is a well respected, longtime art collector who has a passion for the topic and something of value to say. If the audience wanted to know about his film career or celeb tidbits, they should stay home and watch Entertainment Tonight. Unreal...

    December 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • danger

      Agreed.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Definitely agreed!

      December 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • nacho mama

      I'm a Dancing with the Stars, Bachelor watching local yokel who knows nothing about at except to recognize a Norman Rockwell when I seen one. I would have loved to have listented to Steve Martin talk about because of his reputation as an art lover.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Juliam Assange

    This dude stopped being funny after he played King Tut!

    December 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |

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