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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

4.3 (3604 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tim Goshen, KY, United States 06-16-12
    Tim Goshen, KY, United States 06-16-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "For Steve Martin Fans (and Everyone Else)"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Warm, Touching, and Hilarious


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The author shows the intellect and craft behind comedy.


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

    Parts of the book are so well-written and spoken that his emotion is palpable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice 06-11-12
    Alice 06-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "This is a GREAT LISTEN"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    The recollection of this part of his life - as he said, "I ignored my standup career for 25 yrs but now having finished this memoir I view this time with surprising warmth..." Me too.
    I also loved Steve reading it and the banjo separating the sections was terrific.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Born Standing Up?

    The relationship with his father.


    Which character – as performed by Steve Martin – was your favorite?

    Steve


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I may have wanted to but I walk and listen - but did look forward to listening to Steve each walk.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katz Steel 06-08-12
    Katz Steel 06-08-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Really just...OK"
    Would you try another book from Steve Martin and/or Steve Martin?

    Maybe


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

    Alan Alda's "Never have your dogged stuffed"


    Did Steve Martin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    It was OK. Very monotone throughout.


    Was Born Standing Up worth the listening time?

    Yes...still worth a listen.


    Any additional comments?

    I will say, I thought I would laugh a lot listening to this audio, because I remember as a kid listening to his "Wild and Crazy" album over and over. There were some funny parts in the audio, but really let me down. When compared to Alan Alda's autobiography, it falls way short. Alan Alda's book had me laughing out loud in multiple places. Still, it was worth a listen because I really think Steve is a good person and still interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, United States 06-02-12
    Richard COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, United States 06-02-12
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    3
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    7
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    "Steve Martin"
    Would you try another book from Steve Martin and/or Steve Martin?

    Yes


    What three words best describe Steve Martin’s performance?

    good but too short


    Could you see Born Standing Up being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Steve Martin and someone who can play the banjo


    Any additional comments?

    not long enough

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marissa Chevy Chase, MD, United States 05-27-12
    Marissa Chevy Chase, MD, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting, Worthwhile, But Not Stellar"
    What did you like best about Born Standing Up? What did you like least?

    An honest, but not deep, review of Steve Martin's early life. After recently listening to Keith Richard's and Patti Smith's autobio's, not quite as detailed, nor brash, a life story. Wish there was a bit more devling and more post-fame discussion.


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

    It's always cool for the author, particularly of an autobiography, to narrate.


    Was Born Standing Up worth the listening time?

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    June Norfolk, VA, United States 05-05-12
    June Norfolk, VA, United States 05-05-12 Member Since 2015
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    5
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    "Serious-moments of humor"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    I enjoyed hearing all about his early years and his interactions with others in Hollywood.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I expected it to be more inclusive. It just stops when he gets into movies.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Steve Martin?

    I only get books read by the author. He tells you up front he hates his work and the person he was then. So, his reading it this was should not have been a disappointment.


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

    His disappointment with the relationship he had with his father was moving. Especially the beating he took. He had a sad childhood.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fella Atlanta 04-11-12
    Fella Atlanta 04-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Steve Martin Is Brilliant"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    Steve Martin's narration makes this.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    No one could possibly do this other than him since it's about him.


    Any additional comments?

    Great story, intimate, well-written, and suuuuper funny and insightful. Best audiobook I've listened to in a long while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leo MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, United States 03-05-12
    Leo MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, United States 03-05-12
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    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Liking Steve Martin's Comedy is not Required"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Born Standing Up


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Steve Martin, he was the mainest.


    Have you listened to any of Steve Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He takes his comedy much more seriously than he presents it, and it's fascinating.


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

    The End is Surprisingly Moving


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Caulfield, Australia 03-03-12
    Steven Caulfield, Australia 03-03-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Cute"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It's been a years since I listened, cute but not outstanding. I still have vague memories of enjoying some the tales.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skinny Mo Diddley 02-23-12
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    "Fantastic "read"!"
    What made the experience of listening to Born Standing Up the most enjoyable?

    I loved that Steve Martin narrated. It made me feel like he was in the car with me.


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

    It definitely made me laugh.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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