memoir, reflection, serious
This is a reflection by Steve Martin on his path to fame. It focuses on the 60's and 70's, and practically races through his best-known stand-up pieces: a passing mention of arrow-through-the-head, and nothing on 'king tut'.
As such, it's an interesting story, reflections on the hard work and vagaries involved in a great career. But it's also about history; most of it before my time so it felt dusty in ways.
It's not a funny book; his reading even diminishes some of the humor of the original bits he repeats.
But it's tight. It's short in the best possible way: Martin tells the story he wants to tell, and doesn't waste words padding to some extra length. It's a good 4 hours. And it's a good reminder that the best make it look effortless because they spend countless hours unseen honing their work to perfection.
It was interesting how his life came about and how Steve's family life was like. He is very candid and you would never think this was the way it was.
If you remember Steve's crazy stand up routine, and can recall how really 'unusual' it was for its time, you'll love this story. It's not an accounting of his full career, although it does begin when he was a kid and bring us all the way through to his start in the movies. It really focuses on his career as a stand up comedian. If you lived through the early days of his Johnny Carson appearences and his bow and arrow, white suit, wild and crazy, 'excuuusssse me' routines, then you'll love hearing directly from Steve about how he came up with all of that. More importantly, you'll hear what he thought about all that was going on. From years doing standup on the road in bars and college campuses to his astonishment that tens ouf thousands packed stadiums to see him, he shares his inner thinking and observations. I really enjoyed understanding this from his viewpoint.
I enjoyed listening but he stops as his stand up career ends. I wanted to hear more about his movies and life after stand-up. Still brought a smile to my face often.
I enjoyed listening to Steve and how he became a comic and the ups and downs of a comedian's life. As to be expected there are a few laughs in the story as well!
Top listen in my Audible History
Bossypants by Tina Fey. Both are autobiographical and contain some of their classic bits. Both have a drive for perfection in their comedy. Both have pursued comedy and performance their whole lives. They work hard on their comedy and it shows. Steve Martin seems much more original and hardcore. Tina is more of a collaborator, an improviser. Martin is a craftsman, honing and working on his comedy alone. He brings you into his mind, his cerebral process, taking your expectations and tweaking them. He talks about a comedian who had a visual cue that would let the audience know when to laugh. One of his jokes was so garbled it came across as gibberish. But he used his visual cue and he got a laugh. He takes this knowledge and structures one of his shows as all build up, but no release. He won't let the audience catch up on the joke because he doesn't do a visual or audible cue that lets you know when to laugh. So the audience is often laughing at something that happened minutes ago and he's moved on several jokes, so the laughter is coming in this weirdly structured stream. That's how cool he is, he can describe his process so accurately, that someone without any performance experience can get a thrill like he must have had. Him describing his fame how it snowballed, how it can make you incredibly lonely and isolated. How he was unfairly treated by the critics, how he worked his contracts, playing enormous crowds even though he was completely drained and unhappy.
Steve Martin. His standup, his inflections and his rhythm are perfect. He is a master comedian. To hear him describe a joke then tell it and it still remains funny... that's genius. I can't imagine anyone else doing his bits, that's how perfect his performance is. He also lets you in to his life in poignant touching ways. He's not maudlin or sappy, he has a matter of fact"ness" that comes across very genuine and honest.
Yes, and I did. I may have dozed off in some parts, but I came back to them later in a second listen.
I wanted more. I know that's the adage of comedy and performance. Steve is a master, I wanted more of Steve's life and his recollections. I feel he has said all he wants to say on the subject, but I still want more. In one of his earlier shows, held in a classroom, there wasn't a backstage. So when he was finished, he packed up his stuff and told everyone to go home. They didn't. They followed him out of the hall, into the street and finally into an empty swimming pool, where he finally crowd surfed across them. I'm there, I'm in the swimming pool, waiting for just one more gag, one more story, one more of his famous lines, if he doesn't like it, well EXCUUUUUUSSEEE MEEEEE
A great insight
Steve Martin obviously because he provided a great insight into his life and also the world of stand up comedy.
It was great to hear the story from him because he provided a real sense of the issues he went through.
Yes, but couldn't due to driving distances when listening.
Would recommend it to anyone who wanted either an insight to Steve Martin or what it takes to succeed in stand up.
Hi, I'm Aaron - marketer, artist, lifelong learner and friend.
Absolutely. Steve Martin is a fantastic writer. He captures his thought life, the culture, the struggles and the triumphs in Born Standing Up. As Jerry Seinfeld said, 'this is the best comedic autobiography ever written.'
The process of becoming a comedian and then becoming a good one. This book is about the journey, it encapsulates real life and is told with remarkable sophistication and humor.
Every time Steve was broke and persevered anyway - he got better and better.
A comics life. (Which I believe was the original title for the book)
So good you will want all of your friends to read it too.
I enjoyed Steve Martin's description of his "road" to developing his brand of comedy, but I thought he still didn't provide all that much personal information (albeit the good description of his trouble with his father). I would have preferred to hear more discussion of his interest in music and the people he worked with, but this book was clearly focused on his stand-up career.
It was interesting to learn about how he developed his brand of comedy, but this was a bit difficult to follow at times. After all, his comedy might be one that needs to be seen more so than just heard.
I've heard him live a couple times, and those were very enjoyable and entertaining.
I didn't mind spreading this out over a while.
It seemed short. Maybe that is because I wanted to hear something about his music interests and career, and that wasn't there.