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.
2008 Grammy Nominee, Best Spoken Word Album
"Absolutely magnificent. One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written." (Jerry Seinfeld)
I have so much respect for this man after having read (listened to) this book. When anyone works as hard as he did, you have to admire them. This is not a guy who fell into his career, he is someone who worked and worked to get to where he is. And, he reads it which is very entertaining. I highly recommend this book.
I came of age during the Steve Martin era. I was a big fan, and so I think that I would like anything read by him. Besides enjoying his humor again, I was fascinated at how hard it was to make it as a stand-up comic. In this book, Martin tells the story of his long and slow ascent in the world of comedy. Where this falls short is in all the details of his personal life that are missing. That part is very hit-or-miss. He shared some, but seemed protective of his privacy, a problem if you are writing a memoir, as he was doing. I would recommend this book if you loved Steve Martin, as I did. Otherwise, I expect that the listener will be disappointed.
I was hooked right from the start. At the beginning of the book, Steve Martin writes about his unhappy childhood. He said, of his father: "evidently he saved his vibrant personality for use away from the family." The book is charming and funny, and reveals what an original thinker Steve Martin is, and the doggedness it took to succeed. It was inspiring.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
Most of the time, I didn't think Steve Martin's humor was funny. Sometimes it was, but often I just wondered what he was doing. The best movie I saw him in was one about a shop girl who sold gloves - a serious movie that made me think about life and people.
Now, I get a glimpse of what he was doing and who he is. The story he writes is contemplative and serious and yet I laughed out loud. Often.
The production quality is high with great banjo playing at just the right time.
This audio book is reflective about people and life at the same time as it is fun.
It's hard to believe this is a book by a comedian. It's not funny and Martin narrates it like a teacher reading a student's essay from a pile of others. I like Steve Martin, but this book is pure mediocrity. Read Billy Crystal's book instead and you'll see how this one pales by comparison.
I was hoping for some kind of insight, particularly what it was like to be packing stadiums as a stand up with fans that were way over the top. Steve came along at the perfect time in history and reaped the benefits of a pissed-off generation.
I'll be honest: I'm not a big Steve Martin fan to begin with but I have serious respect for his contributions to the comedic world and thought he was magic on SNL. I found his narration to be flat, his story dry, and meandering without any clear end in sight. If you're looking for a great comedian's story, check out "I Must Say" by Martin Short. It was nothing short of wonderful.
I found the info about his life very interesting and telling in his development. However, his read of his own book is very lackluster. Lacks the spontaneity and creativity of his own standup routines.
Not really. He is not a very open author or engaging.
Maybe have someone else read it? Add some personal info. Does not compare well to Billy Crystal's book.
Maybe watch some of his Saturday Night Live appearances.
I was disappointed in the lackluster performance. Almost stopped listening. But I slogged through. Was just okay.
Very enjoyable "behind the scenes" perspective from one of my favorite performers. I listened to the audio version which he also narrated and played the banjo which enhanced my enjoyment of this book even more. No earth-shattering revelations here, but an enjoyable summer read.
One might be forgiven for wondering why Steve Martin - with 30-plus film roles as an actor - could not bring a much more conversational tone to this memoir of his stand-up comic early days. Perhaps the flat reading is intended to restrain his emotions, and with good reason; in the final hour, for example, his mother, sister and stand-up career all pass away.
But, the text is by turns amusing, introspective and remarkably engaging, and especially if (like many of us of a certain age) you recall Steve Martin's early appearances on the Ray Stevens show, the arc of his comedian days will be a ride you will enjoy tremendously.
We are pleased that Mr. Martin survived his stand-up days. Whether his next assignment is as daring as "The Spanish Prisoner" or another family-ready project like "Pink Panther 2," we will long remember the "wild and crazy guy."
"Great insight into the life of a great performer"
Insightful. Entertaining. Comical.
None I can think of.
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.
Mostly the part when talking about his relationship with his father. So honest and open about such an intimate subject. Fair play to him.
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.
"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.
"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.
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