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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin



|Views: 689 |Likes:
Published by Simon and Schuster
In the midseventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away."
In the midseventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away."

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Publish date: Sep 2, 2008
Added to Scribd: Apr 24, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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astrologerjenny reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I really liked this small memoir, in which Steve Martin describes his early life and his years as a stand-up comic. I enjoyed learning how he crafted his act. He started as a magician, and his act was always very physical, but he gradually moved away from “jokes” and learned how to forge a spontaneous and intimate connection with his audience. He would do whatever they least expected. Sometimes he’d take them all out on the street, and the problem was that then the act would have no clear ending, and the audience would just follow him wherever he went!

He had so much creative freedom in his struggling years, and then when he suddenly became the latest sensation, all the enhanced expectations diminished his freedom. Success was expansive – mainly in that it gave him money and prestige – but it was also constrictive. This memoir talks about how that felt from the inside, and it’s written clearly and honestly, without a whole lot of ego.
laneliterati reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Steve Martin's writing is thoughtful and witty. Young people could learn a lot about work ethic, talent and growth from this lovely memoir.
nmele_4 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
To start, I think Steve Martin is brilliant, so naturally I found his memoir of the stand up years fascinating, funny and warm. His simple but elegant writing also pleased me. I await the next installment.
pam8enser reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I had a hard time getting into this, but turned out to be entertaining. I'm glad I listened to this and I'm sorry I got my dad the actual book instead of audio for christmas. This is def a book to listen to as Steve Martin actually reads the book. It makes all the difference when you hear him do some of his comedy bits.
karalawyer reviewed this
Rated 1/5
Wow. Big disappointment. I was hoping for some insight into this this man who was so hilarious in the 70s, yet disappeared to later reemerge as a family-friendly "light" comic actor. But this is an impossibility due to the fact that Martin seems to have little insight into himself.

His book reads like a Filofax diary of who and where and what. What's missing is any genuine humanity or emotion. Is he married today? Has kids? Who knows because it's not addressed.

He also appears to have less emotional connection to the women in his life than he did to his stage props. (I actually detected some emotion when he talked of his magic rings and arrow-through-the head prop - but I could be mistaken.)

I walk away from reading this book thinking Martin has got to be a very shallow man, and feeling duped that I found him so interesting back in his SNL days.
tnilsson_24 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I generally avoid celebrity biographies and autobiographies. And I never liked Steve Martin's stand-up routines (I think you probably have to be stoned to find them funny). But I love his thoughtful plays and a number of his more recent satirical movies. And I love this book. This is perhaps the best autobiography I have read. Highly recommended if you like any aspect of Steve Martin's work (and highly recommended even if you generally don't care for books about celebrities).
gshuk_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Is a brutally honest autobiography of a boy's journey into stardom. His main message is that while it appeared his success happen overnight it was really the result of many years of working his craft/passion. This falls in line with Malcom Gladwell's 10,000 hours rule and this audio goes over many of those hours. He shares the uncertainty and struggles he faced along the way. After listen to this audio I feel I understand better who Steve Martin is as a person. Highly recommended.
realbigcat reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Biography of legendary comic Steve Martin. This book is about his early years. It's amazing how hard he had to work to get to the top. It was a long rough road. If you listen to the audio book it is read by Martin himself. People a little bit older will remember his stories about being on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or when he was a writer for the Smother's Brothers show. I liked the part where he met Elvis and Elvis showed him his pistols. Many more sories including his rise thru Saturday Night Live and his early movie career.
moonimal reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I heard about this book on the Nerdist podcast, which is my current fountain of inspiration. John Lithgow and Chris Hardwick were talking about comedians, and they mentioned this book. I read it in a single day - it's short, and I wasn't sleeping well - and it was a great little read."A Wild and Crazy Guy" was the second album I ever bought, and I still have clumps of brain cells dedicated to those routines. I'm amazed at what I can recall word by word.This book was a fun read for a fan of Steve Martin, but didn't hold any amazing insights - other than he was very focused on exactly what he was doing, and that he didn't spend a lot of time with his family. Made me laugh, though.
florinda_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Despite the popular catchphrase associated with him during the peak of his stand-up comedy career in the late ‘70s, it turns out that Steve Martin never was much of a “a wild and crazy guy” after all. He actually took being funny very seriously, although until he wrote this book, he hadn’t taken a serious look back at that part of his professional life since he stopped doing it on stage every night.As the book description says, Martin “exploded” onto the comedy scene, but he hardly came out of nowhere. He’d been working toward it ever since he got his first job at Disneyland during junior high, collecting jokes and developing a magic act. By the time he started college (as a philosophy major, eventually), he’d moved on to the company at the Birdcage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm. After a few years, he left the theme parks and most of the magic tricks behind, taking his increasingly offbeat comedy to bars and clubs by night while writing sketches for popular comedy/variety shows during the day, until he quit the TV work at 28 and gave himself till the age of 30 to make a living as a stand-up comic. He made the deadline.I was in high school during Steve Martin’s heyday...and I remember not finding him as funny I thought I was supposed to. After revisiting his comedy in Born Standing Up, I’m pretty sure I was just too young to get it at the time, because the bits he quotes in the book cracked me up. I was fascinated to see how it developed, and now able to appreciate just how groundbreaking it was--surreal and subversive and non-topical, fearless, simultaneously brilliant and stupid. Martin approached it with professionalism and craftsmanship, evolving as an artist; in his arc, I saw some broad similarities to Patti Smith’s artistic evolution as recounted in her memoir Just Kids, although it’s possible that I inferred those similarities partly because I listened to both books on audio, read by their authors.By his own admission, Steve Martin is a very private person, and it makes sense that he’d focus a memoir on his work--and just a portion of it. at that--than on the more personal stuff of his life. But he did some pretty interesting and memorable work, which I appreciate more now than I did before I read this--and I got the sense that, in writing about it, he may have come to appreciate it better himself. I enjoyed his narration of the audio, and the transitional banjo music between chapters that he wrote and performed himself (a replacement for the photos in the print edition); while he may never be as famous for his work subsequent to stand-up, he’s been pretty successful as a bluegrass musician and author. It turns out he makes an excellent subject for a book, too.

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