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Steve Martin + 'Colbert Report' + art = ?

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Wednesday night, Steve Martin appeared on "The Colbert Report" to talk about his book "An Object of Beauty," a novel set in the art world. A similar discussion with Martin was said to have gone awry in late November in New York at the 92nd Street Y. According to a N.Y. Times report, the conversation focused too much on art.

So of course, that's just what Stephen Colbert did, turning the conversation to art after only a brief mention of the book. First Colbert quizzed Martin, our blog Show Tracker reports

"Can you identify this famous European painter?" Stephen Colbert asked. He was giving Steve Martin an art quiz in honor of the multi-talented actor's new novel, "An Object of Beauty," about an art dealer in New York City. Martin admitted that he could not identify the work Colbert put on the screen. 

"Do you like this artist?" Colbert asked. "I don't really like that, no," said Martin. "Well, that's good for you," said Colbert. "Because this was actually painted by Hitler."

The absurdity of the talk between the two comedians should not be surprising. At one point, Colbert had Martin decide between Ellsworth Kelly's "Green" and a Sherwin-Williams paint swatch.

Afterward the quiz, Martin was asked to judge a painting -- a truly atrocious portrait of Stephen Colbert. The clip above includes special appearances by the artists Frank Stella, Andres Serrano and Shepard Fairey. It's totally unedited, giving each of us the chance to see what it's like to watch Steve Martin talk about art and judge for ourselves. What do you think -- is it entertaining?

-- Carolyn Kellogg


I saw Steve Martin talk about art and it didn't stink

Steve Martin and Frederick Tuten on writing and art

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I thought that last night's show was very entertaining. It's not often that Colbert gets a break from politics but when he does it's always fun. Steve Martin was a good sport and seemed genuinely pleased to meet the artists Stephen booked. The banter between the two comedians was quick and witty. I hope Mr. Martin returns again as it's obvious how much Stephen admires him and he is more than able to verbally spar on the same level as Stephen, which doesn't happen very often.

It sounds fun! Wish I saw it live. However, why do everyone has the assumption that watching Steve Martin talking about art is weird. He is an actor. Acting is art. And you cannot seperate art forms from each other...All art forms are connected.

absolutely entertaining great television

The buzz I've heard (read, really) about An Object of Beauty has all been positive, but it was your post "I saw Steve Martin talk about art and it didn't stink" that made me stop and request the book from my local library. (I was surprised how quickly it arrived on the hold shelf--I thought surely there would be many other people in town who wanted to read it as much as I did.)

This morning, I was late to work because I simply couldn't leave the house until I reached the book's conclusion. And it was Martin's description of this almost foreign (to me) art world that kept me riveted.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the continued discussion of this novel, and I've already placed my library copy on my roommate's bed. She's got to read it so I have someone to talk about it with.

Loved it. Amazing that Colbert can round up, and have casually appear, Frank Stella, Andres Serrano, and that other guy. Fun to see Martin excited to see them (well, at least two of them).


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