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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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  •  
    Jack Denver, CO, United States 12-11-12
    Jack Denver, CO, United States 12-11-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    "Best first experience"
    Where does Born Standing Up rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was my first audio book and far exceeded my expecations. A fascinating tale of Mr. Martins story. If I had one quip, it was the lack of inside detail on his experience with SNL and Hollywood.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The genuine heart


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

    Steve Martin


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lfrazier United States 11-30-12
    lfrazier United States 11-30-12
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    4
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    "Very good. Enchanting, Interesting and Recommended"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

    He is a good writer (I didn't know that) that has carefully considered his material. He writes with a feeling he has come to terms with the past, good or bad, and that they all accumulate into what makes him who he is today.


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

    I've enjoyed audio books for years, listened to many different subjects and authors. Like many I wonder what it would be like to meet them. After hearing this well crafted self told tale, I think the most interesting meeting would be a simple lunch and conversation with Steve. I was somehow touched by this authors book, enough to write my first review. Thank you Steve for taking the time, the soul searching and the talent to put this together. I will recommend this book to friends and even give copies for Christmas.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael dallas, TX, United States 11-28-12
    Michael dallas, TX, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2013

    I am a journalist and editor. I help people write personal, persuasive essays. It's fun work!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Revealing and interesting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

    Steve Martin is a good writer who knows it's better to tell one slice of a story well than to indulge in memoir arrogance and tell an epic tale that might get dull. This book focuses on his standup career, and in that way tells the story of a gifted American comic through a particular lens. I thought it was fascinating and, at times, deeply personal. I am an editor who coaches people on how to write personal essays, and this is a book I will highly recommend.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    The banjo, of course!


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

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Brisbane, Australia 11-26-12
    Matthew Brisbane, Australia 11-26-12
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    "Entertaining. Intelligent. Warmly honest"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    (Engagingly) entertaining. (Beautifully) intelligent. (Humbly) honest.
    Wanted to share with many


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

    I listened as I travelled, at my convenice. Compelled to listen inside my home.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Museum Quality 11-04-12 Member Since 2012

    300 books in 20 months.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sincere,honest and funny."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

    Yes, and hearing from the author himself is always more insightful.


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

    I think it was the fact that Steve Martin held in there and never gave up.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    Not too funny and not too serious but perfectly honest.


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

    Reconciliation with his father who frowned on his work even after great success.


    Any additional comments?

    Surprising to find out how isolating it was to be one of the most popular comedians of all time. Did not want the book to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek ALPHARETTA, GA, United States 11-01-12
    Derek ALPHARETTA, GA, United States 11-01-12
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    "Excellent"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    Incredible, inspiring and educational.


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

    Learning about martins life and having him tell you personally.


    What about Steve Martin’s performance did you like?

    Just an all around great voice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 10-29-12
    David United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2015

    ShoutingMan

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    "Steve Martin's rise to comedy fame"
    If you could sum up Born Standing Up in three words, what would they be?

    memoir, reflection, serious


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    This is a reflection by Steve Martin on his path to fame. It focuses on the 60's and 70's, and practically races through his best-known stand-up pieces: a passing mention of arrow-through-the-head, and nothing on 'king tut'.

    As such, it's an interesting story, reflections on the hard work and vagaries involved in a great career. But it's also about history; most of it before my time so it felt dusty in ways.

    It's not a funny book; his reading even diminishes some of the humor of the original bits he repeats.

    But it's tight. It's short in the best possible way: Martin tells the story he wants to tell, and doesn't waste words padding to some extra length. It's a good 4 hours. And it's a good reminder that the best make it look effortless because they spend countless hours unseen honing their work to perfection.


    What three words best describe Steve Martin’s performance?

    Serious


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Queensbury, NY, United States 10-11-12
    Susan Queensbury, NY, United States 10-11-12
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    "Different than I thought it would be"
    Any additional comments?

    It was interesting how his life came about and how Steve's family life was like. He is very candid and you would never think this was the way it was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    helen cashel, Ireland 10-09-12
    helen cashel, Ireland 10-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dissapointing"

    This was just OK - not really good value for money and quite short. I had expected it to be funnier.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Amo 10-08-12
    N. Amo 10-08-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "That explains it!"
    Any additional comments?

    If you remember Steve's crazy stand up routine, and can recall how really 'unusual' it was for its time, you'll love this story. It's not an accounting of his full career, although it does begin when he was a kid and bring us all the way through to his start in the movies. It really focuses on his career as a stand up comedian. If you lived through the early days of his Johnny Carson appearences and his bow and arrow, white suit, wild and crazy, 'excuuusssse me' routines, then you'll love hearing directly from Steve about how he came up with all of that. More importantly, you'll hear what he thought about all that was going on. From years doing standup on the road in bars and college campuses to his astonishment that tens ouf thousands packed stadiums to see him, he shares his inner thinking and observations. I really enjoyed understanding this from his viewpoint.

    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
    Performance
    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
    Performance
    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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