Steve Martin: Renaissance Man

ALVARO ALVILLAR

Well…ok…he’s no Michelangelo and he’s definitely no Leonardo…but then…who is?

Besides, that was then and this is now. In this time of excruciatingly mediocre talent, where the line between reality show contestants and some of our entertainment superstars is…ummm…blurred, Steve Martin’s talent is proof one need not settle for second best. In Hollywood, the worlds most famous, over-crowded town of wannabe-wannabe’s (yes, the bar has been lowered that much), he’s the real deal and more.

Not only is he one of America’s most famous comics, who actually happens to be LOL funny, Steve Martin is an accomplished actor, a successful writer and a talented musician. Some of his accolades include: an Emmy, four Grammy’s and a Disney Legend Award. He was awarded the 2005 Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and he is one of the Kennedy Center’s 2007 Honors recipients.

As if that weren’t enough, he also happens to be one serious art collector. I found out about this side of him, around twenty years ago, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There was an exhibit of contemporary art and I came across this fantastic, representational abstract. The painting was by Neil Jenney, an artist I was unfamiliar with at the time, and it was on loan from the collection of a Mr. Steve Martin. I wondered if it was the “Steve Martin?” It was.

His latest novel: “An Object of Beauty,” reflects his passion and knowledge of the art world, and that brings us to this: On Nov. 29, 2010, Mr. Martin was at the 92nd Street Y in New York City to promote “An Object of Beauty,” when something rare happened; he disappointed.

Apparently, he thought it appropriate to talk about the novel and the art world it was about, without so much as putting on that gimmicky arrow-thru-the-head thing. About a half hour into the talk, a note was slipped to the host, Deborah Solomon, informing her that they were receiving emails from the closed-circuit television viewers…they were not amused. When she read the note out loud, the audience came to life and cheered. The Y wasted very little time and voluntarily offered to refund the evenings tickets with same-price-as-paid gift certificates to future events.

Personally, next to a roomful of full-of-themselves progressives, few things can ruin an evening more then some insecure comic, constantly interrupting whatever is going on at the moment, with nervous attempts at humor. Clearly, that is not a problem for Mr. Martin and that makes me like him that much more. Not an easy thing to do, when I consider that he co-wrote and starred in “The Jerk,” one of the funniest movies ever.

To his comic credit, Mr. Martin pointed out: “As for the Y’s standard of excellence, it can’t be that high because this is the second time I’ve appeared there.” Channeling a little Groucho Marx…perfect.

So, let’s see: he’s an award winning comedian, actor, novelist, playwright, producer, musician, composer, business man, art collector and, a pretty decent guy.

Yeah…Steve Martin: Renaissance Man…works for me. Let’s show a little more respect.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.