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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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  •  
    michelle Port Orchard, WA, United States 10-25-11
    michelle Port Orchard, WA, United States 10-25-11 Member Since 2010

    I'm on my 315th audiobook since 2007. I only discovered Audible in 2010 and I find it's a great way to manage my audiobook budget.

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    "Nostalgia personified!"

    I loved listening to Steve's narrative and finding out where all those funny bits that I got so familiar with in his HBO specials, Saturday Night Live appearances, and that ridiculous movie, The Jerk, came from. Steve Martin has always been one of my favorite physical comedians and when he jumped the Big Screen I was thrilled.
    He is definitely NOT meant to read his own story however. He is not that great a narrator and most of the story comes across much drier than it should have. But he is and always will be an amazing actor, performer and author. I can only thank him for this raw and uncensored autobiography.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JustABookie Alexandria, VA 07-15-11
    JustABookie Alexandria, VA 07-15-11 Member Since 2011
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    "It felt like Steve Martin was in my living room!"

    This was wonderful, and I was pleasantly surprised by this choice! When my book club announced this book as it's July read, I wondered if I should just skip the month. I'm glad that I decided to give it a try! It felt like Steve Martin was my living room every time I turned the audio on. It was fascinating to listen to the author tell me the jokes that worked and the jokes that didn't. All in all, it was a great book and the perfect format for it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Bradford, MA, United States 06-27-11
    Jay Bradford, MA, United States 06-27-11 Member Since 2011
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    18
    4
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    "Interesting, but could have been better. Short."

    Best parts are when he talks about his family, but these parts are just a very small part of the book. As a fan some interesting stuff, but could have been better. At times I laughed out loud to hear Steve repeat some of his old stuff, but overall this book is not a comedy book, but a kind of biography. Doesn't go beyond the movie "The Jerk" as far as his career is concerned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Merak Aliso Viejo, CA, United States 05-15-11
    Merak Aliso Viejo, CA, United States 05-15-11
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    "Amazing Audio Book"

    Steve Martin, over a span of 4 and 1/2 hours, manages to paint a vivid and stunning picture of his life as a banjo player, actor, poet, and comedian, who's humble Disneyland and Knotts beginnings are just the tip of the iceberg. A great audiobook, well worth the money

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Ryan 01-07-11
    David Ryan 01-07-11 Listener Since 2007
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    "What makes funny? Martin knows."

    I enjoyed this short read about those times when Steve Martin was the funniest comedian performing. Talking about his private life at the time and what he went through to be on top, he explained why he walked away from standup comedy and never looked back. I liked how he began with the ???Beforehand??? as he looks ahead and gives a glimpse of the story to come. In the 1970???s I thought Steve Martin???s offbeat comedy was hilarious. As he recalled many of his jokes from that time they barely produced a chuckle in me. His comedy was right for the time but evidently was not timeless. Nevertheless, I believe he was one of funniest comedians, ever, despite the slightly melancholy tone of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nina MacKay 01-02-11
    Nina MacKay 01-02-11 Listener Since 2009
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    6
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    "Good Story"

    I didn't realize Steve Martin was such a skilled writer. It is a good story about his life and how he got into show business. I enjoyed the audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Newark, NJ, United States 11-18-10
    Gregg Newark, NJ, United States 11-18-10 Member Since 2010

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Sweet"

    A deep and intellectual look at the greatest stand up to ever grace the stage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andres Hialeah, FL, United States 08-26-10
    Andres Hialeah, FL, United States 08-26-10
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    "Not what I hoped for"

    I may be a victim of poor expectations, but the book was not nearly as funny or witty as I expected it to be. As a window into the life of a struggling stand-up comic who hit it big, it's an interesting read, but not always an entertaining one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Silver Spring, MD, United States 08-21-10
    Michael Silver Spring, MD, United States 08-21-10 Member Since 2009
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    "The Unexamined Life is. . . lacking"

    Being a fan of Martin's joyful comedic talent ever since he put an arrow through his head on SNL, I hoped to learn how this creative genius honed his talents to become such a standout stand-up comic. This book is well-written and crisp in presentation, but it is really no more than a colorful chronology of events in his life. Martin's memoir discloses little of the "how" or "why" in his art. The lack of reflection and insight on his art leaves the book more hollow than fulfilling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Boulder, CO, USA 07-16-10
    Kathleen Boulder, CO, USA 07-16-10
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    "Steve Martin - A real guy"

    Steve isn't really a wild and crazy guy... he's a real guy, and this book reveals his struggles and successes, his fears, his loves. I found it inspiring, warm and open. And his humor comes through, too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 101-110 of 144 results PREVIOUS110111215NEXT
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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
  • The Reluctant Hermit
    Scotland
    11/3/13
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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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