Steve Martin Talk Leads to Audience Revolt in N.Y.

His talk at the 92nd Street Y was called "disappointing" and led to ticket buyers being offered $50 gift certificates; Martin calls the Y "discourteous."

A recent event featuring Steve Martin didn't go over so well in New York City, with the venue ultimately issuing an apology to ticket buyers and offering to placate them with gift certificates that can be used for future events, the New York Times reported.

The actor on Monday was the featured subject of a conversation with Deborah Solomon, who writes an interview column for the New York Times Magazine, at the 92nd Street Y. But apparently some in the audience thought the interview focused too much on the art world, which happens to be the setting of Martin's latest novel, The Object of Beauty.

During the interview, viewers watching by closed-circuit TV sent e-mails to the Y complaining that there was too much talk about art. About halfway through the conversation, a Y rep handed Solomon a note asking her to focus more on Martin's career.

A surprised Solomon read the note aloud, prompting cheers from the audience. Until that point, she said, she thought the conversation was going well.

Martin apparently agreed, telling the Times that Solomon is "an outstanding interviewer" and that the two had appeared in a similar event to "great success."

Afterward, Sol Adler, the Y's executive director, addressed the situation to ticket buyers in an e-mail.

"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. "We planned for a more comprehensive discussion, and we, too, were disappointed with the evening."

About 900 tickets to the event were sold at $50 each. Adler told the buyers that the venue would be mailing out $50 gift certificates that could be used toward future events there.

Martin, a longtime friend of Solomon who had asked her to conduct the interview, said the Y's response was "discourteous" and fired back that the venue's "standard of excellence ... can't be that high because this is the second time I've appeared there."

For her part, Solomon complained that the Y "never told me what they wanted" and decided to focus on the art world and his book since it was more timely.

Meanwhile, a Y rep told the Times that the evening "didn't gel."