December 6th, 2010
02:18 PM ET
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."
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