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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

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  •  
    Eileen USA 11-11-08
    Eileen USA 11-11-08 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Stand-Up Memoir"

    Being a fan of stand-up comics, and a huge Steve Martin fan, I was drawn to this book. Listening to Martin himself narrate it was even better. He tells his story in a very conversational manner, and you feel like he's speaking to you on a personal level. The laughs aren't as huge as his comic routines, but there are plenty sprinkled in. Highly recommend it as a listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Lansing, MI, USA 11-07-08
    Jeff Lansing, MI, USA 11-07-08
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    "Good, not great."

    Having grown up listening to Steve Martan records, snl appearances, and then the Jerk, I was a huge fan. Steve goes into great detail about his childhood and his interest as an entertainer, how ever I feel like he only skims the surface once his fame was achieved, I would have like to here more stories about SNL, friends and the business ETC. It's like he grew tired of writing the rest of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John New York, NY, USA 08-09-08
    John New York, NY, USA 08-09-08
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    "Very enjoyable, Steve Martin is a very good reader"

    I'm a Steve Martin fan and loved his stand up comedy. This audio book covers this part of his career in detail (and more) that fans or anyone would find engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah New York, NY, United States 08-02-08
    Deborah New York, NY, United States 08-02-08
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    "Comedy Icon..."

    I enjoyed the book on audio perhaps better than if I had only read it in print. Steve Martin narrates his own work which is interesting in itself as it makes the story that much more personal. The overall audio experience is further enhanced by the bits of his banjo playing that are used to separate one section from another. The banjo playing was a nice surprise and an added bonus that you certainly don't get when you only have the book.

    Steve Martin got into just how hard he worked before he was able to achieve success at comedy. I have loved Steve Martin forever -- or so it seems -- but I never thought about what he did before he became famous or what he did in order to become successful. He gave a lot of detail about he did and what he went through for all of those years.

    I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it to anyone who is interested in Steve Martin or to anyone interested in what it takes to achieve success. Fascinating story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Albuquerque, NM, USA 07-31-08
    Elizabeth Albuquerque, NM, USA 07-31-08 Member Since 2007
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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 Member Since 2007
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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
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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
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    CmH - HB, CA 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
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