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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Larbi Glen Ridge, NJ, USA 03-26-13
    Larbi Glen Ridge, NJ, USA 03-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A good but not a great listen"

    We were looking for a book we could both appreciate on a two hour drive and this was our compromise choice. The performance was very good and it held our interest both going up and coming back.

    This is not a book of celebrity gossip or shallow reflection. That is its strength. It is a serious analysis of how Steve Martin evolved into a stand up comic, how he succeeded, and why he stopped. It candidly examines his relationship with his family, how his routine developed, who and what influenced him and how he succeeded at a particular moment in time. It also examines why he stopped at the height of his comic popularity and started making films.

    Not surprisingly Steve Martin is a really effective reader and it was his performance that was the standout characteristic of the audio. Because it is a memoir it was effective to have it read by an author whose narrative skill is professional. The story is intelligent and carries you along and is very satisfying if you are looking for something to pass the time, but in the end it wasn't all that memorable.

    If you grew up during Steve Martin's early career this is likely to be more of interest to you than to younger people unless you are familiar with his very visual brand of comedy during the 70s.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Burlington, MA, United States 03-20-13
    Thomas Burlington, MA, United States 03-20-13 Member Since 2012

    th0093

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    "A wonderful story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Any fan of Steve Martin would appreciate a look back with Mr. Martin on his beginnings in comedy, the development of his standup routine and his move away from standup to a very successful movie career. Lots of wonderful stories, and a few sad ones. Great listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great memories of his SNL appearances. I appreciated the difficult stories about his Father.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Hearing Mr. Martin's difficult times with his Father.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-16-13
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-16-13 Member Since 2010

    Lots of books lots of time. I love all things Star Wars and fantasy. The Bartimaeus trilogy (or quad) maybe the perfect series. Jonathan Stroud and Douglas Adams are my heroes.

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    "Great but Short (Not Martin)"

    I have a deep and abiding love of Disneyland, so does Steve Martin. If you like his comedy styling, close up magic, 5 string banjos, and anecdotal stories read by a legendary comedian then credits ahoy!!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harold Lilburn, GA, United States 02-25-13
    Harold Lilburn, GA, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A awesome book about a awesome actor"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you ever wanted to see the pain of success this is the book for you.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It showed me how Steve Martin started from nothing and built his career up from nothing.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    He did an amazing job writing and reading his book. Adding perfect timing to make the book even more memorable.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The story of one wild and crazy guy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anastasios Athens, Greece 02-25-13
    Anastasios Athens, Greece 02-25-13
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    3
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    "Very nice...but short!"
    Would you try another book from Steve Martin and/or Steve Martin?

    Of course


    Would you recommend Born Standing Up to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would, but I would inform the listener that the book is really short.


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

    Well, it's always good when you listen to the actual comedian tell the story of his stand up career!


    Did Born Standing Up inspire you to do anything?

    Yeah, listen to more audio books.


    Any additional comments?

    I really wish that this book was twice as long! I enjoyed it so much that I was really frustrated when i finished t so quickly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanner SHERMAN OAKS, CA, United States 02-19-13
    Tanner SHERMAN OAKS, CA, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Steve Martin is Entertainment Gold"

    This is hands down, by far, the best autobiography that I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. The only way to go on this book is audible so you can hear the story directly from Steve Martin himself. If you're a fan of comedy and looking for something fun, insightful, and entertaining, this is it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Tylee California 01-30-13
    G. Tylee California 01-30-13 Listener Since 2009
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    "Best book listened to in ages"
    Would you listen to Born Standing Up again? Why?

    Yes, definitely


    What other book might you compare Born Standing Up to and why?

    Slash's book


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    Steve Martin was great in it,


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Same title would still work


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent, you will not be disappointed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen Johannesburg 01-28-13
    Jen Johannesburg 01-28-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, but not what I expected"

    I enjoyed this audio book, and it was lovely having the author perform it himself. With regard to the story, I had hoped for more about Steve Martin's life, but I suppose the title does suggest the fact that it is more about Steve Martin's stand up career than himself.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 01-24-13
    Michael 01-24-13 Member Since 2011

    My goal is to read 52 books in 1 year! I read 33 last year!

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    "Total Enjoyment"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    I loved how he tells stories, and it was both entertaining and insightful into what a sand-up comedian goes through


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Newcastle, Australia 01-24-13
    Phil Newcastle, Australia 01-24-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Great Listen, a little short though"

    This was a great book dont get me wrong but I think I would have liked to here more about his career in film. This covers literally his life "Standing Up" in comedy clubs etc. very funny and perfectly read by the man. If your a Martin fan check it out definetly!

    0 of 0 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
    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
  • 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
  • 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
    Overall
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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
  • Sean Clark
    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
  • JamieD87
    12/2/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "Great insight into the life of a great performer"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful. Entertaining. Comical.


    What other book might you compare Born Standing Up to, and why?

    None I can think of.


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

    His voice reading his story made it all the more real. It's his story after all so his tone changes naturally when it needs to, giving the book an extra dimension of reality as well as entertainment.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Mostly the part when talking about his relationship with his father. So honest and open about such an intimate subject. Fair play to him.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the way he gave insight into the comedy circuit. I've kinda always wondered what it was like but never had the cojones to actually go try stand up. It's was a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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