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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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  •  
    Elizabeth Albuquerque, NM, USA 07-31-08
    Elizabeth Albuquerque, NM, USA 07-31-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Real comedy history"

    I like to read about extraordinary things that have really happened, and this is what Steve Martin's bio reveals--the development of his unique comedic style that became a hallmark of the last quarter of the 20th century. Quite enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Albany, NY, USA 07-15-08
    Robert Albany, NY, USA 07-15-08
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    "Born Standing Up is serious business"

    A terrific insight to the science and mechanics of comedy writing in the brain of this "wild and crazy guy."

    I didn't realize at first that this calm, understated and serious narrator was Steve Martin.

    Recommended for those who can appreciate the impact of isolation, panic attacks and persistence as significant learning experiences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Tencza North Carolina 06-07-08
    Elizabeth Tencza North Carolina 06-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"

    It was very interesting to hear what Steve Martin went through, and what went through his mind, on his way to becoming the comedian we see on TV. I'm glad he shared his story with us. Of course, the book is nicely written and narrated as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacy Nunya, IN, USA 05-16-08
    Stacy Nunya, IN, USA 05-16-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining"

    Very entertaining and enlightening into the real life of one of my favorites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles M. Hughes 04-19-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Great listen"

    A great listen. Very interesting insight into Martin's life and career. My only criticism is that I wish it had been longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stu San Marcos, CA, USA 04-11-08
    Stu San Marcos, CA, USA 04-11-08
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    "A smart person's comedian"

    I mostly knew Steve Martin from his "Father of the Bride" type roles, but his memoir adds texture and and edge to what I previously knew about him. He is paradoxically a thinking man's comedian -- seemingly silly at the beginning, but deep and practiced as you listen more.

    This was an easy listen and entertaining. Also gave me better understandings of the "foundations" of stand up comedy.

    Having Steve Martin as the narrator was a bonus. I recommend highly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holley CLOVIS, CA, USA 04-09-08
    Holley CLOVIS, CA, USA 04-09-08
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    "Entertaining Listen"

    I enjoyed listening to this book read by Steve Martin about his own life. I wish it was longer for the price, but it was worth my time. Steve's experience working at DisneyLand and the Music Circus at Knotts Berry Farm was a fact that I did not know about Mr. Martin. Hearing about how he came up with the "Excuse Me" and other comedy routines I remember from my teens was fascinating. Take the time and listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Haraburd Chicago, IL 04-07-08
    Suzanne Haraburd Chicago, IL 04-07-08 Member Since 2007

    mariechicago

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    "Born Standing Up"

    More insightful and reflective than I expected, but still funny. Compelling. Steve Martin's voice makes for a very pleasant listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey South Pasadena, CA, USA 03-05-08
    Corey South Pasadena, CA, USA 03-05-08
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    "The perfect audiobook"

    Steve Martin does a wonderful job of documenting his rise from a wannabe magician when he was a child to a superstar comedian. Factual, emotional, and poignant, the book was not only a great portrait of a creative artist, but a historical account of the rise of stand-up comedy. The book documents his life from birth to the early 80's, when he did the movie "The Jerk." I already yearn for a sequel, as Steve's movie career began to take off. And Steve does a great job of reading his own material. The best kind of audiobook. Definite recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean Bothell, WA, USA 03-01-08
    Dean Bothell, WA, USA 03-01-08
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    "Wild and crazy"

    Overall I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot of things about Steve Martin that I didn't know. Some real surprises as to how his most famous routines came into being. I was a little disappointed in that he covers the early part of his career in great deal but the most recent 15 years he hardly mentions at all. A great listen if you are a Steve Martin fan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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