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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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  •  
    Harold Lilburn, GA, United States 02-25-13
    Harold Lilburn, GA, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    1
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    "A awesome book about a awesome actor"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you ever wanted to see the pain of success this is the book for you.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It showed me how Steve Martin started from nothing and built his career up from nothing.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    He did an amazing job writing and reading his book. Adding perfect timing to make the book even more memorable.


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

    The story of one wild and crazy guy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anastasios Athens, Greece 02-25-13
    Anastasios Athens, Greece 02-25-13
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    3
    1
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    "Very nice...but short!"
    Would you try another book from Steve Martin and/or Steve Martin?

    Of course


    Would you recommend Born Standing Up to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would, but I would inform the listener that the book is really short.


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

    Well, it's always good when you listen to the actual comedian tell the story of his stand up career!


    Did Born Standing Up inspire you to do anything?

    Yeah, listen to more audio books.


    Any additional comments?

    I really wish that this book was twice as long! I enjoyed it so much that I was really frustrated when i finished t so quickly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanner SHERMAN OAKS, CA, United States 02-19-13
    Tanner SHERMAN OAKS, CA, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2015
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    2
    2
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    "Steve Martin is Entertainment Gold"

    This is hands down, by far, the best autobiography that I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. The only way to go on this book is audible so you can hear the story directly from Steve Martin himself. If you're a fan of comedy and looking for something fun, insightful, and entertaining, this is it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Tylee California 01-30-13
    G. Tylee California 01-30-13 Listener Since 2009
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    "Best book listened to in ages"
    Would you listen to Born Standing Up again? Why?

    Yes, definitely


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

    Slash's book


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    Steve Martin was great in it,


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

    Same title would still work


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent, you will not be disappointed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 01-24-13
    Michael 01-24-13 Member Since 2011

    My goal is to read 52 books in 1 year! I read 33 last year!

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    "Total Enjoyment"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    I loved how he tells stories, and it was both entertaining and insightful into what a sand-up comedian goes through


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Newcastle, Australia 01-24-13
    Phil Newcastle, Australia 01-24-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Great Listen, a little short though"

    This was a great book dont get me wrong but I think I would have liked to here more about his career in film. This covers literally his life "Standing Up" in comedy clubs etc. very funny and perfectly read by the man. If your a Martin fan check it out definetly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandin Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-23-13
    Brandin Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-23-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Fan of SM, but not this audiobook."

    I loved Pure Drivel - - - I love Steve Martin. But, this particular book was impossible for me to listen to. The style of narration (for me) was a problem. It sounds very similar to Pure Drivel, but the here, the subject matter is real life stuff - - I'd prefer to have heard these real life stories in a slightly more natural voice, rather than the absurdist style delivery ((which, once again, and not to belabor the point, let me stress...i loved pure drivel)).

    The content itself is really intimate - maybe I'll pick up a hardcopy & read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Badr Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 01-05-13
    Badr Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 01-05-13 Member Since 2012

    o-0

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    "Fantastic, Steve Martin is amazing!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

    I find that Steve's reading of his own work adds a certain charm and honesty to the writing.


    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic listen, I had read the book prior and really enjoyed it, revisiting with the audio book and with his great voice gave it a whole other aspect to the story as a whole, I really enjoyed it. Steve needs to do more audio books!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 12-23-12
    Kim 12-23-12
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    "Funny and Entertaining!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    It was nice to hear about the man Steve Martin, not just the performer. I wish it was longer. It was interesting to hear what it was like breaking into a whole new paradigm of entertainment.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Denver, CO, United States 12-11-12
    Jack Denver, CO, United States 12-11-12
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    4
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    "Best first experience"
    Where does Born Standing Up rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was my first audio book and far exceeded my expecations. A fascinating tale of Mr. Martins story. If I had one quip, it was the lack of inside detail on his experience with SNL and Hollywood.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The genuine heart


    Which character – as performed by Steve Martin – was your favorite?

    Steve Martin


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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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
    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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