We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Born Standing Up Audiobook

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

In the mid-70s, 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. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away".
Regular Price:$23.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

In the mid-70s, 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. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away".

At age 10 Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott's Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory.

Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times: the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late 60s, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the 70s.

©2007 Steve Martin; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

2008 Grammy Nominee, Best Spoken Word Album

"Absolutely magnificent. One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written." (Jerry Seinfeld)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (4778 )
5 star
 (2372)
4 star
 (1594)
3 star
 (662)
2 star
 (114)
1 star
 (36)
Overall
4.3 (3183 )
5 star
 (1615)
4 star
 (1020)
3 star
 (445)
2 star
 (84)
1 star
 (19)
Story
4.5 (3200 )
5 star
 (2096)
4 star
 (751)
3 star
 (274)
2 star
 (62)
1 star
 (17)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrew Coconut Creek, FL, USA 11-30-07
    Andrew Coconut Creek, FL, USA 11-30-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    Get this audiobook. It’s one of the best show biz biographies I have ever seen. Definitely the best one that ever mentioned Dariel Fitzke’s Showmanship for Magicians. Actor/comedian/writer/art collector/banjo picker/magician Steve Martin details his journey from aspiring young magician to the biggest comedian of all time (he was the first comedian to sell out 45,000 seat venues).

    You’ll find out that his overnight success took ten years and only then happened when he decided to go his own path. Despite the frequent bookings on the Tonight Show, fame and headliner status eluded him for a long time. He’d been demoted to performing only on guest host nights for a long period because Johnny wasn’t in to his act. When he slowly found his way, Johnny became his biggest fan.

    I sat down with this book to just read a chapter and couldn’t put it down. I read the whole thing in one sitting. I’m getting the audiobook next. It’s an amazing story of how a performer struggled and grew in his art. It’s the best analysis I’ve ever read of what it takes to be an original and how hard it can be to get acceptance for that.

    I could go on about this book, but you should really just be reading the book. So I’ll end this right here: Go get this audiobook!

    67 of 69 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Johnson Greenville, SC 06-18-08
    J. Johnson Greenville, SC 06-18-08 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great for a first timer!"

    This was my first Audible Audiobook, and I was curious as to whether I would enjoy it or not. I loved it! Steve does a great job narrating the book himself and it keeps you entertained the whole time. I like books that give you an inside look to worlds you wouldn't normally get to see, and that's exactly what this book does. Highly Recommended.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward ny, NY, USA 03-01-09
    Edward ny, NY, USA 03-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Well Written and Narrated"

    I have actually listened to this several times. It is fairly short, but a well written account of the evolution of his act. It is hard to imagine the years that went into editing out the bad material and fine tuning the good to make Steve Martin one of the funniest comics. It seems to get funniest at the end, like his act, insightfully spanning a few decades. It is also fun to hear his familiar voice reading the story of his professional life.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Long Beach, CA, United States 05-26-08
    Susan Long Beach, CA, United States 05-26-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Loved it!"

    What a charming genuine affable guy. Loved the book. My only problem with this book is that it isn't long enough. I wanted more. I'll wait for his second memoir.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Casey Fort Worth, Tx 07-04-08
    S. Casey Fort Worth, Tx 07-04-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent!"

    This is an excellent book and Steve Martin's narration makes you feel like you're in his living room listening to him tell his story to you personally. I loved it!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher SOMERS, MT, United States 07-13-09
    Christopher SOMERS, MT, United States 07-13-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    269
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4221
    60
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why he walked away"

    Quite a memoir from the once "wild & crazy guy"! Steve dated Stormie Omartian? (GASP! LOL)

    The flat tone may turn some listeners off, but Steve Martin wisely chose it to emphasize just why he walked away from stand-up comedy after all the work he put into making it.

    Steve Martin has a great reading voice, and I think he has another career ready when he decides to walk away from acting.

    Highly recommended!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billy 01-09-10
    Billy 01-09-10

    Billy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Really good"

    I have so much respect for this man after having read (listened to) this book. When anyone works as hard as he did, you have to admire them. This is not a guy who fell into his career, he is someone who worked and worked to get to where he is. And, he reads it which is very entertaining. I highly recommend this book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 06-26-13
    Sher from Provo Utah 06-26-13 Member Since 2015

    tired teacher

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1556
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    422
    250
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    308
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stands up well"

    I have always been a fan of Steve Martin. To me, a comedian/actor has to strike a balance between being able to be incredibly funny and yet have the ability to be serious when appropriate. Steve Martin found that balance. Many of his movies are on my all-time faves list, but I also enjoy his standup routines. I think he is a genuine person, and that reaches out to me. So it isn't surprising that I enjoyed reading about his life. No, this is not a literary masterpiece, but as far as memoirs, it is fairly well written, entertaining and engaging.

    Martin reads his own memoir, and does a fine job of it. He is, after all, an entertainer.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 08-07-09
    Lori 08-07-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    224
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    201
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    19
    Overall
    "Very enjoyable"

    Very enjoyable "behind the scenes" perspective from one of my favorite performers. I listened to the audio version which he also narrated and played the banjo which enhanced my enjoyment of this book even more. No earth-shattering revelations here, but an enjoyable summer read.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 09-21-08
    Luis Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 09-21-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Not Laugh-Out-Loud But Interesting"

    If you are not expecting tons of laughs, this book is pretty good. There are a few chuckles but, overall, it's Steve telling the story of his stand-up career. At times, he seems to be trying too hard to sound intellectual. Still, his tale is very interesting.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Alistair
    London, United Kingdom
    5/13/11
    Overall
    "Interesting insight into a great comedian"

    Steve Martin's narration is wonderfully clear and insightful, unlike many of his contemporaries he is able to recall the early days of Saturday Night Live and the 70's stand-up seen brilliantly. It is a useful look into the formation of his career and how he struggled early on. I would have preferred it to be a little longer as it’s much more interesting than many celebrity auto-biographies.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • john keegan
    Glasgow, Strathclyde United Kingdom
    7/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny Guy!"
    Would you try another book written by Steve Martin or narrated by Steve Martin?

    Yes, yes, yes. This is the first audiobook I have heard by Steve Martin and thoroughly enjoyed. It's fantastic hearing the author tell his thoughts and jokes.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Great book and a story that brings you up to date.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I wouldn't say I enjoyed one chapter or scene more than another, I did however love hearing how the conception of some of his catchphrases came into being.


    Was Born Standing Up worth the listening time?

    The book was a very open and honest account of his life, a must buy if you like Steve Martin, his work and comedy. My only downside was I felt it was too short.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Hare Hatch, United Kingdom
    1/26/12
    Overall
    "Well worth your time"

    It's a bit light on the humour but all the same, it's very interesting. His relationship with his parents, particularly his father comes as a surprise. He goes into detail about his route into the business, the highs and lows, the loneliness, and it's very revealing. Very well written and Steve reads it in a very matter of fact way - one that will stay with you long after you've read it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Narny
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    6/17/11
    Overall
    "Tears of a clown."

    I heard Scottish comedian Susan Calman recommend this book but having quite a mixed opinion of Steve Martin I thought it would just be a few hours of him massaging his own ego.

    However I admit to being very wrong and understood Ms. Calman's reason for recommending it. This honest and sometimes very sad memoir of Steve Martin is a very memorable and surprising listen. Yes, there is plenty of humour but it clearly shows the road to fame has been a hard journey for the star and he readily admits to his own faults. At the end of it my opinion had been altered somewhat.

    I would recommend this. It may not change your opinion of Steve Martin but it is an enlightening listen from the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Faye T.
    3/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent presentation. Lovely story."

    Narrated beautifully. Learnt a lot about Steve Martin. Very easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Schunowho
    2/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It has a beginning, middle but no end."

    I'm a big Steve Martin fan but this book left too many questions unanswered. He tells a bittersweet, almost melancholy story of his rise to fame. It's honest and heartfelt and tells of his fathers coldness and his rise selling programs at Disneyland an on through magic shops and the small smokey clubs where he carved out his unique "Crazy " guy persona. He reads with little emotion but it has its funny moments.
    It ends just after his parents deaths and his first film success in The Jerk.
    It's well documented that Steve has wrestled with physiological problems and these are hinted at in this book. I would have liked to have heard the behind the scenes of his big hit films and his reminisces of his fellow performers. This would have ended the book with an upbeat feel.
    Do another volume Steve with a few more laughs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sean Clark
    12/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great insight into a funny man"

    Steve Martin wasn't just a comedian , he analysed comedy for its nuance. He worked hard, and from a most normal upbringing, became an overnight success 20 years in the making.

    Told with a familiar dry humour, it is sometimes hard to pick out the facts from a line. Which makes this book all the better for it.

    That Steve Martin narrates it is only right. So don't expect an uplifting experience, more a monotone dialogue in which Steve is the only character. And rightly so, great fun.

    You'll never feel this small again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. N. Curran
    3/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"

    The best read autobiography I've heard. Brilliantly told story of his rise to fame and the start middle ant then end of his stand up comedy career. This is well worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • JamieD87
    12/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great insight into the life of a great performer"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful. Entertaining. Comical.


    What other book might you compare Born Standing Up to, and why?

    None I can think of.


    What does Steve Martin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His voice reading his story made it all the more real. It's his story after all so his tone changes naturally when it needs to, giving the book an extra dimension of reality as well as entertainment.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Mostly the part when talking about his relationship with his father. So honest and open about such an intimate subject. Fair play to him.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the way he gave insight into the comedy circuit. I've kinda always wondered what it was like but never had the cojones to actually go try stand up. It's was a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Reluctant Hermit
    Scotland
    11/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent and entertaining"

    I found this book to be well written, well read and a very interesting insight into the life of a clever and artistic man. Very entertaining. I would listen to it again in the future and there are not many books I would say that of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.