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

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 (7254 )
5 star
 (3746)
4 star
 (2372)
3 star
 (923)
2 star
 (161)
1 star
 (52)
Overall
4.3 (5451 )
5 star
 (2892)
4 star
 (1693)
3 star
 (698)
2 star
 (134)
1 star
 (34)
Story
4.5 (5471 )
5 star
 (3703)
4 star
 (1222)
3 star
 (423)
2 star
 (94)
1 star
 (29)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    sam george 04-18-16
    sam george 04-18-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Trusted Comedians"
    What did you like best about Born Standing Up? What did you like least?

    I was really excited to specifically listen to this book because so many comedians I like recommended it. I heard that it was hilarious and captivating because it was read by Steve Martin himself. So when I started the book I had high expectations for some laughs. I found it to be the opposite. Although it was well written Steve read in a monotonous and depressing tone the entire time. I zoned in and out at points because it was so boring, this is not something I usually do especially if I pay for an audio book. He went go over very minute details of his first jobs before he was famous thoroughly and skipped over big interest things like SNL and his movies.


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

    No.


    What three words best describe Steve Martin’s voice?

    Monotonous, Slow, Lethargic


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W.C. Hoffman 12-23-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not enough SNL, Magic or Movies."

    Martin is just as charming as a narrator as he is on stage. As a fellow magician, comedian and huge SNL fan I figured this book would be a cant miss for me,

    However...

    Not enough of each of the above mentioned things were present.

    Mostly I was looking to gain an understanding about the feel for what those early days at SNL were like. I know he wasnt a cast member but he was a host and part of the scene.

    Also there is no mention of any movie other than the Jerk.
    No Planes and no Father of the bride talk.

    Kind of a bummer but still not a waste of time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer New York, NY 10-17-15
    Amazon Customer New York, NY 10-17-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "just OK but still entertaining"

    let me start by saying that I did enjoy the book. But was expecting a little bit more. The wording of the stories were all very flowery so it made it feel like it was hiding the fact that not a lot was covered in the book. Where was all of the behind the scenes from Saturday Night Live? More details about his time in the movies? Would have loved to hear more. I guess this leaves room for him to write another book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 09-27-15
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 09-27-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    673
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    322
    219
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    48
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not wild or crazy"

    If you choose this book expecting to fall on the floor with laughter, well, you might be disappointed. Steve Martin writes about his stand up years with a lot of insight, but the book is much more introspective than I would have expected. When he describes what his life was like at the height of his fame, well, let's just say I wouldn't want that. It's a nice listen, just not a particularly funny one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. P. Price 08-11-15
    J. P. Price 08-11-15 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No longer wild and crazy"

    The fascinating journey of an accomplished performer perfecting his craft and the twists and turns along the way.
    Listen to Steve tell his story, you won't be disappointed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 08-03-15
    Rich 08-03-15 Member Since 2016

    Rye-and-Indian, baked daily.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    348
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    60
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    27
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heartfelt and Talented, but Not Wildly Unusual"

    Let it be known: I find Steve Martin to be an innovative and unique comedian and entertainer. You only get folks like him once or twice in a generation.

    I was expecting this book to have some mindblowing insights about his rise to fame, with deep wisdom gained from the ensuing disillusionment. Frankly, there wasn't a lot of that. There was a lot of what you expect: started small, worked hard, made it big, now reflects. Ironically, "what you expect" was never in Martin's stand-up (the book does explain the roots of his unpredictability).

    The one-liners and rehashed bits from Martin's early days are just great (publisher gets a star for their choice of narrator). The banjo interludes (played by Martin, of course) give the book a genuine touch. His path-crossings with other names from the '70s (Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, etc.) are cool. The last chapter is lovely--that chapter gets 5 stars.

    This review is no takeaway from Martin's career or work--it just the book wound up being nothing more than a quick, pleasant summer read for me. If you're a Steve Martin fan, it's worth the time. Thanks Mr. Martin for sharing your story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juan New Orleans, LA, United States 07-23-15
    Juan New Orleans, LA, United States 07-23-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not very intimate but that is Steve"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Well Steve could have been more revealing about himself


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steve Martin again?

    Probably not


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    His voice is smooth and his delivery excellent.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes it did have some details about delivering comedy and did tell some details about what it is like about developing a comedy act. However it is lacks too much detail. Not too much introspection.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Inverness, FL 07-10-15
    Amazon Customer Inverness, FL 07-10-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    122
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great (auto)biography."

    I was unable to stop listening to the audio book read by the author. His beginnings were different than I imagined. He started working at age ten and never stopped. I understand now why he no longer does standup. I miss his wild and crazy humor, and applaud his movies. Bowfinger is my favorite.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kristin 07-08-15
    kristin 07-08-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable and unexpected"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

    Because Steve Martin read it himself, its like going to a stand up comedy show when he reads his own stuff.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Born Standing Up?

    I enjoyed the whole book, the way he talks about his father is the most remember-able. Only because the way he talks about him, you can tell by the inflection in his voice that the feelings run deep there.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    I really liked it. It wasnt what I expected though. With Tina and Amy's books, I was laughing at what they were saying. But with Steve, it was so calm, like sitting down with a friend, listening to him tell me his life story. It was funny to me, but i connected to him on a different level that really makes me want to relisten to his book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I've learned to pace myself


    Any additional comments?

    I would like him to write more books and read more! I really like his voice!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Ogborn 07-07-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Gorgeous and Melancholy Reflection on Entertaining"

    Steve Martin is a lyrical writer whose reflections on both his Southern California childhood and magic-infused early days of standup transcend the genre of "comedy autobiography" to reach a mystical, albeit heartbreaking meditation on death and, you might say, joy. Read with a forlorn and at times hilarious tone, he digs deep into his past as a new-comedy pioneer and the wounds of his disapproving father as he goes from joke-magician to television writer to the biggest live comedy act in history. Too, he explores how the bits got stale, and, as he so aptly describes, "when comedy stopped being fun and got serious," and he left the world of live performance for the ease of film. An essential read for any fan of Martin, and, for those with a cursory interest in entertainment and the history of television. "Born Standing Up", like Steve Martin, is wise, insightful, hilarious, and often devastatingly sad.

    0 of 0 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
  • T Parks
    12/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well review me!"

    Loved this audio book. I'm a huge Steve Martin fan but a little too young to remember his period as a stand-up,*&& so hearing his vivid account of that era helped match the archive footage that exists to his personal experience.

    One thing that stands out is that he absolutely worked his butt off to achieve fame. 5 sessions a day! No wonder he experienced stand-up burn-out via the creative vacuum of repetition.

    It's a very touching audio book and one that I hope he expands on with regards to his career as an on-screen actor. I'd love to hear what he experienced making All of Me or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

    If you're a fan or someone interested in the restless 70s then you owe it to yourself to have a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Parke
    6/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One crazy guy"

    Wonderful reading and well layered a great insight and has many touching parts. It's a great listen

    0 of 0 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

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.