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Born Standing Up Audiobook

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

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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

4.3 (7655 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ingrid New York, NY, United States 09-23-16
    Ingrid New York, NY, United States 09-23-16 Member Since 2016

    Eclectic physical philosopher, carbon free commuter, fitness consultant, personal trainer, non-medical nutritional counselor, yoga teacher.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No I know it's possible to love someone you've never met"

    Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Appreciate the honesty and all the stories of his journey. So glad he narrated it. Will watch The Jerk again for sure! He will always be among people I cherish & admire from afar.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 09-23-16
    Robert 09-23-16
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    "Thank you Steve Martin"

    May you continue to enjoy just right.
    May others enjoy your story as I did.
    Your message of perseverance needs to be shared.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsay Denver, CO, United States 09-22-16
    Lindsay Denver, CO, United States 09-22-16
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    "Steve Marting being Steve Martin"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Comedy is hard.


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

    The most memorable moment for me deals with his father and their relationship. Especially their exchange on his father's death bed.


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

    He sings and inflects the jokes the exact way that he does. I would have missed that if I had read it.


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

    Definitely. It's pretty short and very entertaining.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 06-17-16
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 06-17-16 Member Since 2009
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    "private & lonely VS. public & crowded"

    ? did you come of age with the comedy of the 1970's and 1980's
    ? can you remember the very early years of " Saturday Night Live "
    ? do you have an appetite for knowing a performer's back story

    steve martin has written a wistful and tender hearted memoir for you
    as you'd expect he's a sensitive soul ( migraines, panic attacks, hypochondria etc. )
    he seeks the stage to work out those issues and escape a dreary home life

    martin is a remarkably kind, thoughtful, modest and eloquent man
    he clearly prefers his current quiet life to his prior episode of national fame
    there's a profound genuineness to his description of his life and friends

    for some people, solitude and introspection are not things to be avoided
    martin is clearly in that group and he quickly found fame to an irritant
    if that speaks to your soul, i'd highly recommend this self-narrated book

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bram koster 06-10-16
    bram koster 06-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    "pretty dull"

    this book had two high profile recommendations. so I thought it might be fun and interesting. it was neither.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cal 06-09-16
    Cal 06-09-16
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    "Slow to start, string finish"

    Enjoyed the last few chapters when Steve starts to really open up, first half is a bit boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick DiDomenico New York, NY 06-08-16
    Patrick DiDomenico New York, NY 06-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    "I didn't want the story to end."

    Such a great story -- and there is no better way to hear it than from the voice of Steve Martin himself. Funny and touching, it brings back memories of his career. The insights into his life are unexpected and profound.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PeleGirl5284 04-22-16
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    "Perfect"

    Steve Martin on his journey in developing his own style of stand up. You can't get more perfect than this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam george 04-18-16
    sam george 04-18-16
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    "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
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    "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
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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
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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
  • 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
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    "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
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    "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
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    "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
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    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
  • SeanC
    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
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    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

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