Steve Martin was "hurt" when he was ambushed on the red carpet by British comedian Paul Kaye back in 1996.

The Hollywood comedian was blindsided by Kaye - who was in character as his obnoxious alter-ego Dennis Pennis - when he approached him at the premiere of his movie 'Sgt Bilko' and asked "How come you’re not funny any more?" - and Steve admits the jibe stung because he was worried about his showbiz career at the time.

He told the Guardian newspaper: "It hurt because I was at a very vulnerable moment in my career."

It was later suggested that Steve cancelled the rest of his press interviews for the film following the incident, but he is adamant that's not true. He added: "Bad reviews hurt; they really hurt. But if I’m at a screening and I see the critic, I just go: ‘Hey! How you doing?’ Like you don’t know anything."

Kaye in his guise as fictional interviewer Dennis Pennis became well-known for accosting celebrities and insulting them with his line of questioning and his victims included famous faces such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Demi Moore and Kevin Costner.

During his interview with the Guardian, Steve was told that Kaye has since been haunted by his encounter at the 'Sgt Bilko' screening because strangers now come up to him and ask: "How come you’re not funny any more?"

Steve reacted by laughing and saying: "I hold no grudges. Things have gone well."

The 'Only Murders In The Building' star was also asked about his current career high and he insisted he takes nothing for granted these days. He explained: "If you’re anointed tonight, you can be dumped on tomorrow ... " adding: "Idolatry is so fleeting".

The comedian will next be seen in an Apple TV Plus documentary about his life and career titled 'Steve! (Martin): A Documentary in 2 Pieces', but he recently confessed he plans to step away from the industry when 'Only Murders In The Building' ends.

He told The Hollywood Reporter: "When this television show is done, I’m not going to seek others. I’m not going to seek other movies. I don’t want to do cameos. This is, weirdly, it."