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Born Standing Up Audiobook

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

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  •  
    Joel Saltzman San Diego, CA 10-08-14
    Joel Saltzman San Diego, CA 10-08-14

    Shake That Brain!

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    "Just ...wonderful!"
    What did you love best about Born Standing Up?

    It was like Steve Martin came over to the house, sat down, and told me the story of his stand up years.


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

    I can't decide: either the beginning, the middle, or the end.


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

    I did have an extreme reaction. Fortunately, my dermatologist was able to help.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ladyface 09-27-14
    Ladyface 09-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Intelligent, entertaining, engaging"
    Would you listen to Born Standing Up again? Why?

    Yes. I love Steve Martin's unique voice. "Born Standing Up" is an incredibly detailed account of his early career on the stand up circuit. Boyfriend found it to be too "name droppy" but I took it to be a historical account of the beginning of stand up comedy as its own art form and resource for anyone interested in starting out in the industry.


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

    Yes and we did (on a road trip).


    Any additional comments?

    Even in non-comic forms he's a very talented writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bosque Farms, NM, United States 06-04-14
    Amazon Customer Bosque Farms, NM, United States 06-04-14
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    "Read not Narrated - who would have thought?"
    Would you try another book from Steve Martin and/or Steve Martin?

    I've read much written by Steve Martin, but this was the first time I bought an audio book of his, so I was excited that he was also narrating. However, it didn't take long for disappointment to set in. After having listened to George Carlin, Woody Allen, Neil Gaiman and others narrate their own works, I had high hopes for Martin to narrate his own story. His tone was flat and matter-of-fact; didn't stir up empathy for him. I would have gotten more out of it having read it than listening to it. So whereas I would buy another book by Martin, I wouldn't buy an audio book with his narration. His narration made what would have been an interesting memoir rather boring.


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

    I would have hired a professional narrator. The story is his own - can't improve on that.


    Any additional comments?

    I was looking to engage with an actor whom I've enjoyed since growing up in the 70s, but couldn't get past the feeling that he wasn't too interested in his own text. I wasn't expecting a "wild and crazy guy" with a voice out of The Jerk, but at least the voice that made such movies as Roxanne and LA Story entertaining and moving.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PERSONAL IRVINE, CA, United States 03-21-14
    PERSONAL IRVINE, CA, United States 03-21-14 Member Since 2015
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    "enjoyable"
    What did you like best about Born Standing Up? What did you like least?

    I have always loved Steve Martin. To this day, whenever someone goes to tell their story to me the line "I was born a poor black child" goes through my head and I smile. I love that Martin is this clean cut guy I always thought he was. That he worked so hard for so long to do something he really loved. I felt the discomfort and the inability to stop and his desire to remain a basically decent guy.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Steve Martin?

    Yes. This was just a little flat in performance almost like Martin was reluctant to read it. I guess I'm used to him performing and being that crazy guy.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Steve Martin’s life?

    Anything else he is willing to share. (wait, maybe we want to hear what he isn't willing to share.)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey Morningside, Australia 12-31-13
    Corey Morningside, Australia 12-31-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Thanks Steve"
    Where does Born Standing Up rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Excellent story about an exceptional man.


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

    I have nothing else to suggest in this area sorry


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

    This is the only book that I have read that was written by Steve Martin.


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

    I would not make a movie of this topic.


    Any additional comments?

    NO I don't have any additional comments.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MERIDIAN, ID, United States 12-19-13
    John MERIDIAN, ID, United States 12-19-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Just what I always wanted"
    What made the experience of listening to Born Standing Up the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the fact that I could download it to my phone, and not just stream it. There are several spots on my drives where there is no cell coverage, and being able to listen uninterrupted made it great


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Steve Martin. I've always admired him, now I get the backstory of his life.


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

    I love that it's his voice, talking about his life.


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

    I was blown away that he worked at Disneyland (in the magic shop). I've watched his comedy, but never saw the magic part of a show.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, by a great artist, delivered in the best possible way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael E. Sternoff Redmond, WA United States 09-26-13
    Michael E. Sternoff Redmond, WA United States 09-26-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "He's holding back."

    So I love this book in so many ways. Steve is one of the greatest comedians of all time, but there's something damaged about him. You really understand it when he's telling the stories of his father. You can see why Steve didn't have his first child to 66 years old, don't think he wanted to be a father in the way his dad was to him. It doesn't seem like his dad was that bad, just Steve succeeded where his dad failed. So the rest of the review is gonna be slight criticism, but overall I loved this book, this guy is awesome and has had an amazing life.

    I think he was overly concerned with being a good writer. Some of his analogies feel like a stretch and sound unnatural. Like he's trying to write Shakespeare for a Kentucky fried world(see what I did there?.............. analogies that don't make too much sense and take away from the focus of the story.)

    It's a great incite to the world of comedy, but with every chapter I really felt like he was not telling the full story. He was protecting himself. Especially when he talked about having a panic attack when he smoked pot in the 60's, so he never did drugs again. I've heard first hand accounts of that not being entirely accurate. It's like he's trying to paint a picture of his life as how he wants to see it.Which I guess is the reason you do an autobiography. To write history in your eyes, history as you want to see it. But I think it comes off as a sterilized version of what is an incredible life story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy CANANDAIGUA, NY, United States 08-01-13
    Amy CANANDAIGUA, NY, United States 08-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Very entertaining"
    Where does Born Standing Up rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is a shorter book, but nonetheless very entertaining and insightful. I really loved the insight into Martin's history and how he crafted his act. I think I am left feeling surprised that he took his humor so seriously! I am a big fan of his music, so it made me happy to hear his banjo tunes in between the chapters. That was a great touch.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica SALINAS, CALIFORNIA, United States 07-11-13
    Jessica SALINAS, CALIFORNIA, United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautiful Story Told Beautifully"

    Steve Martin has an iconic voice and a legendary sense of humor. Hearing him say the things he wrote in this book felt deeply personal, like he was revealing himself for what he truly is. Listening to Born Standing Up made me care deeply for the author in a way that one very rarely cares for those in the public eye. It was not a distant or lofty description of an alien world. It was the true story of a journey that seemed at once romantic, intriguing and yet completely realistic. It truly is a magnificent work with a beautiful story arc that reaches climactic highs and transcendent resolutions. 10/10 will listen again at least once or twice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Manning Portland, OR 07-09-13
    Nicole Manning Portland, OR 07-09-13 Member Since 2012

    author

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    "Humble, Smart, Funny"
    What made the experience of listening to Born Standing Up the most enjoyable?

    I really enjoyed hearing Mr. Martin read his story in his own voice. He's got a wry sense of humor and is an expert at timing, so the book was really enjoyable when heard instead of read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning about the hard work and artistry that went into Mr. Martin's career.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for celebrity "dirt," you won't find it here. Martin didn't write a "tell all" here, but then again, he's got way too much class for that. Great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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