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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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  •  
    jeffrey 02-27-15
    jeffrey 02-27-15 Member Since 2014

    Father of three with no time to actually read, but also a former history teacher and current attorney with a long commute-I love audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "interesting---not as funny as you'd expect..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

    ummm....like most audio book listeners, I listened to it only--didnt read the book


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

    It's similar to Rob Lowe's books on life trying to "make it" in show biz


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

    His voice...in some instances he sings or does character voices that only he could do.


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

    No, and if there's a down side that's it...it's an OK story with a few interesting parts....


    Any additional comments?

    Steve Martin fans will be disappointed that he basically gets to the point where he went into the movies....and stops. The only film he talks about much is The Jerk....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 02-25-15
    Anonymous 02-25-15
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    10
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    "A well written look back on an amazing life"
    What made the experience of listening to Born Standing Up the most enjoyable?

    As a aspiring Comic who looks up to one of the greats it was astounding to hear the story and life of such a prolific man.


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

    This book is so well rounded. You will laugh at his growth in the world and be heartbroken as he details lost loves and Family.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noah Fleming Kingsville, ON 02-21-15
    Noah Fleming Kingsville, ON 02-21-15

    Noah Fleming

    ratings
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    11
    3
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    "Short and sweet."

    This was a decent book. I wish it was longer, but it's interesting to hear Steve's path to fame, how quickly he got there, and how quickly he wanted to change gears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ross Colorado Springs, CO, United States 02-20-15
    Ross Colorado Springs, CO, United States 02-20-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Not What I Expected"

    I was thinking that this book would be about a "wild and crazy guy", but instead it was about the journey of a young boy as he evolved into the Steve Martin that became so famous. Sometimes painful, sometimes funny, made all the more engrossing because it is read by Steve, himself.

    Anyone who loved Steve Martin back in the 70s and 80s, should really enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LSULLYR 02-16-15
    LSULLYR 02-16-15
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    "interesting and amusing"

    very entertaining listen. I love that Steve Martin read the book himself as well. very good read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick GRAND JUNCTION, CO, United States 02-09-15
    Nick GRAND JUNCTION, CO, United States 02-09-15 Member Since 2016
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    47
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    "Fun and easy to listen to"

    I did not expect how interesting leaning about the life of a standup comedian would be. Nor did I anticipate how special it is to have Martin, the author, read the book - reciting how the jokes and quotes intended be performed in the audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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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    7
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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
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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
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    "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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    Story
    "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
    Overall
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    Story
    "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
    Performance
    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
    Performance
    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
    Performance
    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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