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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

4.2 (2570 )
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  •  
    fred greensboro nc 02-22-08
    fred greensboro nc 02-22-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    112
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    "Smart Guy, Fun Book"

    It is easy to like Steve Martin because he is funny and smart. I found it interesting that how he came in contact with so many other show business and comedy legends. The fact that he reads the book is a bonus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Sherborn, MA, USA 02-07-08
    Jonathan Sherborn, MA, USA 02-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    5
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    "Great Autobiography"

    I'm not a Steve Martin fan but thought his autobiography was incredibly intelligent and well-written. It is fascinating to hear how his inner emotional life related to the public persona through different periods of his career. Ultimately, the self-awareness he achieves is quite inspiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob DunedinNew Zealand 02-06-08
    Rob DunedinNew Zealand 02-06-08
    ratings
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    1
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    "Awesome!"

    I'd been waiting for a book like this about Steve Martin for many years so was extremely satisfied with the content. Informative and completely entertaining. Really interesting read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald Encino, CA, USA 11-22-07
    Ronald Encino, CA, USA 11-22-07 Member Since 2006
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    "warm, funny, touching"

    The opening stories during the first hour held my attention, without enthralling me. But then the book really took off when Steve Martin began discussing his standup career, and all the jobs (writing on the Smothers Brothers' Show, etc.) that led up to it. And he discusses the inner workings of his mind during those years, sharing with us the conscious thought process that went into developing his standup persona. All of that was fantastic.

    My only complaint is that I wish the book had been longer. (It’s just over 4 hours). I could have easily listened to him discuss his film career, as well. But this is a memoir about his standup days. And it's an interesting one. It also has a very warm quality. And it's a pleasure to hear Steve Martin deliver various jokes he has made over the years. I’m glad he chose to read his book himself. He did a very good job.

    If you're a fan of Steve Martin, I don't see how you could be disappointed, other than, as I said, it could have been longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blair West Hollywood, CA, USA 12-03-07
    Blair West Hollywood, CA, USA 12-03-07 Member Since 2006
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    "Very Little Insight, Montone Reading from Steve"

    I really wanted to read this book as I am a great fan of Steve Martin. Yet his reading of it, short of some of his comedy bits, is rather monotone. The insights he gives are somewhat interesting, but few, there are huge gaps in his life (like only one mention of his marriage, and that is to counter a quote from some newspaper when he divorced). Didn't want all the dirt, but did want something that would make me 'feel' like I knew Steve Martin. I feel I hardly know the man at all.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carol Coquitlam, BC, Canada 02-04-12
    carol Coquitlam, BC, Canada 02-04-12
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    "D.O.A."

    I expected more from an autobiography. This reads like a review of a (not so engaging) trip. First I went here, then I went there, this happened, then that happened.
    Dull as can be. I realize that Steve Martin is a "private" person, but why then would he write an autobiography? Oh yes, an autobiography that has no NOTHING in it!
    If you ever think you have lead a dull life, then this will lift you up immeasurably! Rest assured, as it is conveyed here, this will top yours!
    A total disappointment from a public figure who I enjoyed and laughed along with many others in the 70's.
    Looking for a good autobiography? Try Diane Keaton's newest one, you won't be disappointed!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emory Nashville, TN, United States 01-02-12
    Emory Nashville, TN, United States 01-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Steve committed the worst crime ..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The book wasn't funny or even interesting


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steve Martin again?

    Never


    How could the performance have been better?

    It was a dry read. But the writing was so poor not sure that anything could have made it funny.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Born Standing Up?

    The whole book should have been burned before press time thus stopping a audio book.


    Any additional comments?

    Wow I want my life and my money back.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Denver, CO, USA 06-14-08
    Nancy Denver, CO, USA 06-14-08
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    "fabulous"

    The is a funny and touching memoir. Steve Martin fans will love this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph South Haven, MI, USA 09-22-09
    Joseph South Haven, MI, USA 09-22-09
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    "Untypically Steve"

    Not much comedy but a lot of candid background. Missed the comedy, but enjoyed the history of his personal experiences.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Craft 12-02-08
    M. Craft 12-02-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Surprisingly dry"

    As a fan of the audio version of Pure Drivel, I was surprised to hear Martin read this memoir in such a cold manner. I generally prefer works read by their authors because of the sophisticated judgment of inflection and tone that the creator can give his own words, and I heard none of that here. The content is interesting enough, and was not written to be humorous, but Martin treats it as if it were a set of airline safety regulations rather than a fragment of his own life. There is none of the warmth and joviality I normally associate with his reading. Forewarned is forearmed--look to this work only if you have a specific interest in Steve Martin, otherwise consider the much more genial Alan Alda memoir regarding his stuffed dog.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 131-140 of 144 results PREVIOUS1131415NEXT
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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
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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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