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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 (5692 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ken OLYMPIA, WA, United States 02-03-15
    Ken OLYMPIA, WA, United States 02-03-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Great nostalgia"

    This is Steve Martin reminiscing about his years as a standup comedian. I loved it. I'm glad he wrote it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-27-15 Member Since 2015

    odomos

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    "Great beginning, slow finish"

    I particularly enjoyed the narration through the early years and the excitement of discovery that Steve Martin experiences.

    Towards the end though the matter was not as engaging. I'm sure there are a wealth of experiences after stardom but they are not part of this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TM 01-24-15
    TM 01-24-15

    TJM

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    "Short and Serious"
    Any additional comments?

    The Jerk is one of my favorite films and I've enjoyed many of his other films, but Steve Martin strikes me as a man who is somewhat embarrassed by his best work and wants to be taken much more seriously.

    In the book we learn that his father seemed uncomfortable with his son's less than cerebral visual comedy and perhaps thats why Mr. Martin seems to overcompensate in interviews and in this short autobiography. Whilst there is much of interest for those looking for an inside view of the world of stand-up comedy, there is also much dry and serious analysis of how philosophy, art and cultural forces informed the many average jokes he proceeds to recite (out of character).

    To me Steve Martin was funny mostly for the characters he created and his physical performance. Not for his word-play, stories, or zingers.

    Not once did I guffaw, nor even chortle. This is not a funny book. Extracting jokes from their context and discussing them, sap all of the magic and joy from them.

    I did smile once in a while reflecting on the comedy-acting masterpieces captured in The Jerk and on SNL. But it seems Mr. Martin is determined to demonstrate his intellectual chops rather than entertain his readers.

    I still love him for giving me some of the funniest moments of movie/television magic I have known.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 12-31-14
    John 12-31-14 Member Since 2015
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    ":)"

    Great story behind Steve Martin's rise to fame. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Would recommend it for anyone who is a fan of his material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megawampum Seattle 11-18-14
    Megawampum Seattle 11-18-14 Member Since 2013

    History Lover, Ancestry Fanatic, DIYer

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    "Don't Expect Much Laughter"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Wish it covered more of his career after he became famous


    Any additional comments?

    An interesting story, but not a particularly funny tale. You won't hear Steve Martin doing many funny voices, routines, etc. Very dry telling of the beginnings of his career in stand-up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo E. St Clair Milwaukee, WI United States 10-14-14
    Jo E. St Clair Milwaukee, WI United States 10-14-14 Member Since 2012

    Jo

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    "Love/Hate"
    What made the experience of listening to Born Standing Up the most enjoyable?

    I have followed Steve Martin since the King Tut days. I am in love with him. I know that Mr. Martin is shy and VERY smart. His fancy words tend to take away from the story. I think he should stick to writing plays. It's a much better genre for his talent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel Saltzman San Diego, CA 10-08-14
    Joel Saltzman San Diego, CA 10-08-14

    Shake That Brain!

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    "Just ...wonderful!"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    It was like Steve Martin came over to the house, sat down, and told me the story of his stand up years.


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

    I can't decide: either the beginning, the middle, or the end.


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

    I did have an extreme reaction. Fortunately, my dermatologist was able to help.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ladyface 09-27-14
    Ladyface 09-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Intelligent, entertaining, engaging"
    Would you listen to Born Standing Up again? Why?

    Yes. I love Steve Martin's unique voice. "Born Standing Up" is an incredibly detailed account of his early career on the stand up circuit. Boyfriend found it to be too "name droppy" but I took it to be a historical account of the beginning of stand up comedy as its own art form and resource for anyone interested in starting out in the industry.


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

    Yes and we did (on a road trip).


    Any additional comments?

    Even in non-comic forms he's a very talented writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bosque Farms, NM, United States 06-04-14
    Amazon Customer Bosque Farms, NM, United States 06-04-14
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    "Read not Narrated - who would have thought?"
    Would you try another book from Steve Martin and/or Steve Martin?

    I've read much written by Steve Martin, but this was the first time I bought an audio book of his, so I was excited that he was also narrating. However, it didn't take long for disappointment to set in. After having listened to George Carlin, Woody Allen, Neil Gaiman and others narrate their own works, I had high hopes for Martin to narrate his own story. His tone was flat and matter-of-fact; didn't stir up empathy for him. I would have gotten more out of it having read it than listening to it. So whereas I would buy another book by Martin, I wouldn't buy an audio book with his narration. His narration made what would have been an interesting memoir rather boring.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have hired a professional narrator. The story is his own - can't improve on that.


    Any additional comments?

    I was looking to engage with an actor whom I've enjoyed since growing up in the 70s, but couldn't get past the feeling that he wasn't too interested in his own text. I wasn't expecting a "wild and crazy guy" with a voice out of The Jerk, but at least the voice that made such movies as Roxanne and LA Story entertaining and moving.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    PERSONAL IRVINE, CA, United States 03-21-14
    PERSONAL IRVINE, CA, United States 03-21-14 Member Since 2015
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    "enjoyable"
    What did you like best about Born Standing Up? What did you like least?

    I have always loved Steve Martin. To this day, whenever someone goes to tell their story to me the line "I was born a poor black child" goes through my head and I smile. I love that Martin is this clean cut guy I always thought he was. That he worked so hard for so long to do something he really loved. I felt the discomfort and the inability to stop and his desire to remain a basically decent guy.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Steve Martin?

    Yes. This was just a little flat in performance almost like Martin was reluctant to read it. I guess I'm used to him performing and being that crazy guy.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Steve Martin’s life?

    Anything else he is willing to share. (wait, maybe we want to hear what he isn't willing to share.)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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