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Steve Martin Too Artsy for This Venue

Posted on Dec 2, 2010
Flickr / Eric Frommer (CC-BY-SA)

Apparently New Yorkers just don’t want to hear a banjo-playing comedian talk art. After an hour-long Q-and-A with brainy comedian Steve Martin, who was reportedly too high brow, the 92nd St. YMCA Y in New York felt compelled to offer its audience a refund. (Correction: Earlier, this item, in its headline and text, referred to the YMCA; actually, Martin appeared at a facility of the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association.)

New York Times:

But Sol Adler, the Y’s executive director, saw it differently. “We acknowledge that last night’s event with Steve Martin did not meet the standard of excellence that you have come to expect from 92nd St. Y,” he wrote in an e-mail to ticket holders. “We planned for a more comprehensive discussion and we, too, were disappointed with the evening. We will be mailing you a $50 certificate for each ticket you purchased to last night’s event. The gift certificate can be used toward future 92Y events, pending availability.”

About 900 tickets to the event, which cost $50 each, had been sold; all ticket buyers received the offer.

Perhaps the audience saw that message coming. Midway through the conversation, a Y representative handed Ms. Solomon a note asking her to talk more about Mr. Martin’s career and, implicitly, less about the art world, the subject of his latest novel, “An Object of Beauty.”

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By Cryptobotany, January 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steve Martin seems like a real prig if you ask me. I
saw him with Martin Short acting very snooty and
condescending toward Tom Green. It was saddening and
shocking. Tom handled it well though. Anyways, how many
mansions does Steve Martin own? Too many if you ask me.
He swims in the sea of mediocrity with the rest of the
Hollywood people. For playing the same part in every
movie he’s ever done? Pathetic.

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, December 5, 2010 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

Giving the audience their money back is humiliating to the guest, and to insult a guest—in an effort to kiss ass== is pretty boorish and enabling.

What kind of spoiled and entitled behavior is this from both the audience and the Y? I would tell the audience who didn’t like the interview, ‘Sorry, but suck it up’ but then again I can barely function in the world because I can’t kiss ass and brown nose people.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, December 5, 2010 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

No it stills boils down the American so-called culture being really really stupid. Steve Martin has more talent in his little finger than the celebs who are lionized by the stupid stupid culture. Andy Warhol knew this and cynically scammed stupid American culture to the hilt - and he was gay!

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment


Bill Maher. Kieth Olbermann.

I got it.

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By Sabagio, December 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

American Truism: Clowns who want to be taken seriously, never are, never will be.

Sabagio Mauraeno

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By DocMac, December 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steve is smart, but no smarter than he thinks he is.  He exudes a quality of feeling himself to be the smartest guy in the room, not humble at all, and I, apparently with lots of company, find it to be off-putting. And yes, attitudes like this do give the Palins of the world grist for their mills.

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By Meteorite, December 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Let’s not overlook the obvious - Steve Martin is overrated and not funny.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 4, 2010 at 11:00 am Link to this comment


“I occasionally like to “spin out of control” and say what’s really on my mind.”


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By dsmith, December 4, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

MrFreeze…subsititute JEW for Mormon in your comment and someone might think you were anti-jewish. That would be an outrage, bashing Mormons…not so much.

Martin suffers from the many years of wearing an arrow through his head and now trying to discuss the art world.

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By racetoinfinity, December 3, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

I agree with Ms. Solomon that the Y’s behavior is appalling and caters to the philistine celebrity glamour take-over of our culture to the detriment of the real arts.

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By Dennis, December 3, 2010 at 2:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Martin’s a fraud.He started off like a hip comic then gradually became a Hollywoood asshole. I remember seeing the Father of the Bride movies and I did not see one black or dark skinned person at the wedding reception scenes. The guests were completely lily white. I’m sure it wasn’t his speaking about art that bored the audience. It is that Steve Martin is boring to listen too. I was restless on the night Martin was on Charlie Rose talking about his recent book (Sure, I’ll read it). Thanks Steve, your interview put me to sleep.

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By phred2, December 3, 2010 at 2:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey Truthdig, this makes you look ignorant and/or careless.  Fix your article!  This
is NOT the YMCA.  It is called the 92nd St. YM-YWHA. All it takes is one second on
Google to figure this out.  The letters stand for Young Men’s and Young Women’s
Hebrew Association. It’s a cultural institution in a long tradition, not a ‘YMCA’.  It
is Jewish, not Christian. They host a huge range of classes, lectures, performances, 
religious observances and social events.  It has its ups and downs like any big
institution, and this affair sounds truly idiotic.  But the 92nd St. Y contributes
enormously to its community and is cherished for that.  This is cheap, weak
reporting, and it’s offensive that this article has been up for a while now, and
although one of your commenters pointed out the mistake, no one cares enough
to fix it.  “Truth” dig my foot.  You don’t have to ‘drill’ much farther than the
headlines to see the shoddy work.  I’ll erase my bookmark.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, December 2, 2010 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

It’s not Steve who’s the problem - it’s the poor excuse for culture called American.

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By mrfreeze, December 2, 2010 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

To all my “fans” on this thread:

Indeed, just as you all hold strong opinions about most things, I occasionally like to “spin out of control” and say what’s really on my mind.

If you grew up in UT as did I and had to endure years of the boorish and smug “local culture” there with its censored popular radio music, the ice-cream orgies and “sickening-sweet” family values…...AND THEN listen to them lavish their praise on Steve Martin, it didn’t sit well.

Please forgive me for not appreciating Steve Martin.

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By Bobi6, December 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Isn’t this the uptown YMCA that parents bribe to get their kids into the
preschool? I read it was mostly Wall Street types. For gods sake, Steve
Martin is so much smarter than they care that they probably couldn’t
understand what he was saying. He perhaps should have geared his
performance to MONEY. Just MONEY. That is the only thing these cultural
dunces understand

Steve Martin is so talented it is not fair and he is extremely intelligent. I
have loved him from his first appearance on TV but I guess those New
Yorkers are up to understanding jokes the average TV watcher got easily
years ago. Go Steve.

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By reverento., December 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

@mrfreeze hey man nice non-sequitur you should get
booked at the Y! I mean first of all nice cliche
against Mormans haven’t heard that before, second of
all, Steve Martin’s talent does’t have shit to do
with this, it WAS NOT a performance, If you actually
read the article, posted on this site, you would know
that sugarplum smile.

Also, this is just sad. I thought big cities, particularly in the New England area prided
themselves on an appreciation of the Arts.
The 92st Y must attract some really fake bourgeois
types emerging these days, not a real middle class
but one the dress’s middle class, and drives Volvo or
whatever. It’s that same kind of fake leftist that
EVERYONE in this country hates, Even though both
groups love to watch ice road trucker apparently.
Well, what I’m trying to say is: Fuck you.
(I think anti-intellectualism just took a line of
coke in this country.)

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By meposting, December 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s YMHA not YMCA.

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By lasmog, December 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Maybe the New York Y should book Sarah Palin as their next public speaker.  They would never have to ask her to dummy-down her remarks for the audience.

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By ribbie149, December 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Dear Mr. Freeze,
Your opinions demonstrate your keen powers of critical
thinking and your wonderful sense of humor.  Thank you
for allowing us all to see you at the height of your

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By Jim Yell, December 2, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am not a big fan of Steve Martin’s, but I will spring to his defense. I recently heard him play on t.v. and he is an excellent musician.

I can understand that with his reputation earned as a comedy actor his audience may have had preconceived ideas of what the program would consist of and so they had set themselves up for disappointment.

I don’t think anyone should have gotten a refund. Steve Martin did what he said he was going to do. When we buy tickets we always set ourselves up for “well I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had wished”, but that is just the breaks.

As to those who rail about snotty, intellectualism, maybe if they weren’t so ignorant they wouldn’t be running after Sarah Palin and falling for the distructive programs of the Republican Party.

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By RayLan, December 2, 2010 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Steve Martin went from slapstick comedian to artiste-intellectual
He forgets what made him popular was that he was entertaining, he fails to realize that in the non-culture of America art IS entertainment.

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By mrfreeze, December 2, 2010 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

Steve Martin was very popular with Mormon audiences in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Those douche-bags just “loved” his intellectual/non-vulgar humour and they would go on and on about how smart an “cool” he was.

1) The fact that Mormons find Steve Martin funny automatically disqualifies him as a comic.

2) I can’t believe Steve Martin is considered talented after all these years.

I’m sure he’s a very “nice” man, but give me a break…..he has been successful in spite of his so-called talents.

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