Those Hicks From New York

The other day I had this interview with Steve Martin in my reader. He's an interesting fellow. Everyone knows him as a comedian, but the guy can do anything, seemingly. I recall reading at the height of his stand-up days that some of the best bluegrass musicians had nothing to teach him in the banjo department. He's a serious art collector, and in the last few years he's turned to writing plays and novels. The interview was about writing and art and a fun read.

Not good enough for the 92nd St. Y, however, which refunded the money people paid to hear Martin give a very similar interview for an hour.
“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.” 
Apparently the Y never really discussed with interviewer Deborah Solomon what the topic of conversation would be. People who were wired in started emailing, demanding celebrity chit-chat, so at the end, in response to a note, Martin took 6-7 questions from the audience. Solomon commented:
“Frankly, you would think that an audience in New York, at the 92nd Street Y, would be interested in hearing about art and artists,” Ms. Solomon added in an e-mail. “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.” 
Martin himself seems mystified.
Mr. Martin said he was taken aback by the Y’s response, describing it as “discourteous” and adding, “It seemed to me that a consultation was at least in order.
“As for the Y’s standard of excellence, it can’t be that high because this is the second time I’ve appeared there.” 
It seems like anyone following his career would realize he's not doing stand-up anymore --and not for some time.

Art, schmart. New Yorkers just want the arrow through the head.

Update: Philip Terzian has more.
It is Steve Martin’s comments, however, which attracted my attention. In an injured tone, he explained to the Times reporter that he believes Deborah Solomon “is an outstanding interviewer” and that (here comes the shocker) “we have appeared together before in Washington, D.C. in a similar circumstance to great success” (emphasis mine).
He had the same reaction I did, for the same reason:
I don’t know if that observation strikes readers in the same way it affected me, but I conclude that what Steve Martin is saying, in effect, is that audiences in Washington are sophisticated and erudite while audiences in New York are boorish and uneducated. People who live in the nation’s capital want to hear what Steve Martin has to say about Georges Braque, but the arts crowd in Manhattan just wants to hear him sing “King Tut.” This is such a departure from the received wisdom about these respective communities—everybody in Washington is an ill-educated hack, New York is a city of gourmands, connoisseurs, and balletomanes—that I am not entirely confident that the Times comprehends what it has published. 
I, however, am not surprised.