Steve Martin is versatile, but so are many performers. What separates Martin's work is its emotional
consistency. People were taken aback in 1999 when he wrote a small,
serious novel called Shopgirl, but Martin had considered these themes of
love and self-isolation before, albeit in a horror movie parody called
The Man With Two Brains where he played a character named Dr. Hfuhruhurr
and fell in love with a medically preserved brain voiced by Sissy
Spacek. Whether your sense of humor lies more towards his early high-motor movie silliness or the E.B. White-tinged New Yorker essays of later
years, Martin seems like someone capable of saying an interesting thing
in an interesting way.
at the 92nd Street Y that watched The New York Times' Deborah Solomon
interview Martin Monday night felt differently. His crime? Talking too much about art. And not just
that--talking about a new book
he wrote about art. A book! About art!
an event staffer was there to intervene, slipping Solomon a note (in
the middle of the interview!) telling her to focus more on Martin's
film career. An incredulous Solomon read the message aloud to the
crowd, only to have them burst into applause. The interview ended
"Frankly, you would think that an audience in New
York, at the 92nd Street Y, would be interested in hearing about art
and artists,” a still-simmering Solomon told the Times. "I had no idea
that the Y programmers wanted me to talk to Steve instead on what it’s
like to host the Oscars or appear in ‘It’s Complicated’ with Alec
Baldwin. I think the Y, which is supposedly a champion of the arts, has
behaved very crassly and is reinforcing the most philistine aspects of a
culture that values celebrity and award shows over art."
stating that the interview "did not meet the standard of excellence" of
past programs, has already offered refunds for the evening's
Martin, for his part, noted that the Y's
standards "can’t be that high because this is the second time I’ve
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