The attendees of a recent gathering at New York City's 92nd Street Y featuring Steve Martin as a guest speaker were so unhappy with what they were listening to, some of them actually complained to the staff and demanded refunds.
So what were they so upset about?
Steve Martin and his fellow New York Times columnist, Deborah Solomon, focused their discussion on artists and paintings, which is the subject of Steve's new novel An Object of Beauty, and found themselves being chastised by not only the audience, but the staff as well. When halfway during the discussion, an employee asked them to talk less about art and more about Steve's career, the audience began cheering!!
And what's worse is that the Y's executive director Sol Adler sent an email to ticket holders saying that he would give refunds to all 900 of them. In the email, he wrote:
"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. 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."
Geez! A little rude, dontcha think??
And to really put the final nail in the coffin, the facility's PR director commented on the event, saying, "The evening with Martin and Solomon just didn't gel. We heard from our audience members, who were vocal about their admiration for Steve Martin and their displeasure with the program, at the event, and afterward by email and by phone."
Both Steve and Deborah responded to the Y's decision to refund the tickets. Deborah said that when the audience started asking questions about Steve's career, she turned to him and said, "'Steve, we blew it,'" adding:
"Frankly, you would think that an audience in New York … would be interested in hearing about art and artists. 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 what did Steve have to say??
"The evening was not going the way they wished, meaning we were discussing art," he said, comparing the experience to "an actor responding in Act III to an audience's texts to 'shorten the soliloquies," adding that he and Solomon should have been consulted about what they were required to talk about so that they wouldn't have been given a "discourteous" reaction to their discussion.
He even took to his Twitter to warn artists, tweeting, "So the 92nd St. Y has determined that the course of its interviews should be dictated in real time by its audience's emails. Artists beware."
Luckily, he still managed to have somewhat of a sense of humor about it though. "As for the Y's standard of excellence, it can't be that high," he said, "because this is the second time I've appeared there."
LOL. Class act.
[Image via WENN.]