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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life | [Steve Martin]

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".
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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

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  •  
    Leo MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, United States 03-05-12
    Leo MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, United States 03-05-12
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    "Liking Steve Martin's Comedy is not Required"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Born Standing Up


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Steve Martin, he was the mainest.


    Have you listened to any of Steve Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He takes his comedy much more seriously than he presents it, and it's fascinating.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The End is Surprisingly Moving


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Caulfield, Australia 03-03-12
    Steven Caulfield, Australia 03-03-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Cute"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It's been a years since I listened, cute but not outstanding. I still have vague memories of enjoying some the tales.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skinny Mo Diddley 02-23-12
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    "Fantastic "read"!"
    What made the experience of listening to Born Standing Up the most enjoyable?

    I loved that Steve Martin narrated. It made me feel like he was in the car with me.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It definitely made me laugh.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David W Surrey 02-22-12
    David W Surrey 02-22-12 Member Since 2004
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    "A Must-Buy Audiobook"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Honest, Sweet, Amusing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The surprises and the honesty.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    He has a very pleasant and restful speaking voice. He came across as a really nice man (and was willing to talk about his own failings).


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

    His references to his anxiety attacks and the difficult relationship with his father.


    Any additional comments?

    You won't regret buying it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ivy Writer 02-20-12
    Ivy Writer 02-20-12

    Ivy Writer

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    "Really insightful autobiography"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful, funny, smart


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hard to say, Steve is the main character, but his life seems to have been filled with interesting people!


    Have you listened to any of Steve Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've listened to his stand up, which was funny and absurd. He comes across as much more intelligent and thoughtful in this book than in his stand up.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No. It made me laugh at times, but it's a more sly humor. I keep saying


    Any additional comments?

    I'm about 70% through it and really enjoying it. I don't want it to end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Nairobi, Kenya 02-11-12
    Anna Nairobi, Kenya 02-11-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Hilarious!"

    The book is entertaining from the beginining to the end and the narration is great. I listened to 'Born Standing Up' after completing a very draining project at work and the good laugh was therapeutic! Anyone looking to have a good laugh will find this book rewarding.

    It however feels too short.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Australia 01-31-12
    Ryan Australia 01-31-12
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    "Great Listen"

    A great listen if you're interested in the comedy world with the bonus of a highly engaging delivery from the man himself

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl 01-30-12
    Cheryl 01-30-12 Member Since 2013

    momdeplume

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    "Gave me Happy Feet"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    I bought this audiobook expecting some comedy, but what it delivered was an insight into the making of a career and a life--exactly what a good autobiography should be, even though at one time, Mr. Martin says he feels like he's writing about someone else's life. Steve Martin is a good storyteller. He gives us his triumphal moments as well as his anguish, without being overwrought. The story was always engaging and often surprising.

    His voice, as we know, is very pleasant, and more pleasant still is that he reads with emphasis and diction, and just the right amount of emotion. You might think that's to be expected from a person in show business, but it's true that there are several audiobooks out there that have been slaughtered by actors who are bad readers.

    On both counts, story and delivery, this one is a good pick.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Lowell, NC, United States 01-26-12
    Brenda Lowell, NC, United States 01-26-12
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    "Wonderful listen!"

    I loved listening to this book. It would not have been the same if it were read by anyone but the author! No one would have done the voices the same or sang the songs we who were weaned on his stand up routine know so well. I love Steve and at one time knew his comedy routines by rote. I love him as an actor today. After listening to his book I understand the life of the aspiring comic and know exactly why he chose another course for his career. Love this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Almonte, Ontario, Canada 01-25-12
    Bruce Almonte, Ontario, Canada 01-25-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Entertaining and interesting"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this auto-biography and Mr. Martin provided an insightful and thoughtful account of his rise to fame.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 91-100 of 151 results PREVIOUS19101116NEXT
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  • 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
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    "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
  • Marvin
    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
  • JamieD87
    12/2/14
    Overall
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    "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
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    "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
  • Richard
    Whitstable, United Kingdom
    8/4/11
    Overall
    "Not what i expected."

    I love Steve Martin as a comic, but after listening to this I am not so much a fan anymore. It does seem to be true that a comic has a difficult life, and he seems to have had his fair share of obsticles to overcome in his life. Not one I would recommend.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
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