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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

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Performance
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  •  
    08-07-09
    08-07-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very enjoyable"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 09-21-08
    Luis Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 09-21-08
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    "Not Laugh-Out-Loud But Interesting"

    If you are not expecting tons of laughs, this book is pretty good. There are a few chuckles but, overall, it's Steve telling the story of his stand-up career. At times, he seems to be trying too hard to sound intellectual. Still, his tale is very interesting.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 04-28-12
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 04-28-12 Member Since 2004

    Say something about yourself!

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    "A master"

    I loved hearing Martin's point of view of his rise from amusement park worker to SNL and Hollywood. Some great stories, told by the man himself. You come out understanding why he rose so far, and how he burned out on standup. It's amazing how much though went into what seemed like a freeform act. And you get why he decided it was time to move on.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. Allen Il, USA 12-21-09
    V. Allen Il, USA 12-21-09 Member Since 2007

    I love hard Sci-Fi and Fantasy. And I pepper in there a few Bios.

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    "A delighful look behind the genius of Steve Martin"

    This is a well written and well read. It is heartfelt and insightful as to how a man can hone his craft.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 11-12-09
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 11-12-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"

    Loved this one. Great to hear Steve Martin tell his story (in his own voice) and how he landed on his own unique style of comedy. Some really interesting insights along the way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat parma, OH, USA 04-14-09
    Pat parma, OH, USA 04-14-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "born standing up"

    This was a great listen. I love the fact that Steve Martin read his own book, it really added to the realism of his life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 01-21-09
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 01-21-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Enjoyable"

    If you're a fan of any aspect of Steve Martin's career, I think you'll enjoy this "peek" behind the scenes.
    As a creative person, professionally following a creative career, though in a different field, I really enjoyed listening to the evolution of his stand up career, material, and his thoughts, memory, and honest commentary about the highs and lows. In hindsight, he identifies turning points in his life and career that were insightful and often poignant.

    With all of the above, it would have been well worth it, but the book is also infused with the sophisticated Martin humor: loved the lines about "curvy virtues" and "I did not kill him."

    I'll listen to this one again I am sure in a year or so. (That was it's only negative, I wish it were a longer audiobook.) Great going Steve!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Orford 12-06-08
    R. Orford 12-06-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Writing Comedy primer"

    This book was an amazing insite into the skills of a craftsman as well as a moving story of a man growing up. Steve reflects, shares and provides a primer into the discipline of writing comedy. At the same time we share his life at that time including his strained family relationships that influenced his writing.
    This book does not disappoint and I look forward to revisiting it again many times in the years to come.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Wallingford, CT, USA 04-29-08
    David Wallingford, CT, USA 04-29-08
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    "Great"

    Great book. I can't say that I have ever been a huge Steve Martin fan but after listening to this book I have an entirely new respect for him and his craft. Mr. Martin reads the book himself and does a fantastic job of bringing his pieces to life (as he should). I'm glad no one else narrated this book. A must read for any one remotely interested in a comic legend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Colorado Springs, CO, United States 02-09-08
    Linda Colorado Springs, CO, United States 02-09-08 Member Since 2007
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    "The Steve Martin I Love"

    I only went to a few live "concerts" when I was in college in the '70s and Steve Martin was one of them. In my mind's eye I still see his visual, intelligent, and off beat stand up routine. This memoir, beautifully read by the author and punctuated with what I assume is his banjo playing, brings those moments back to vivid life. I laughed out loud again at his wonderful humor (which was somewhat disturbing to the people on the treadmills next to me at the gym).

    In addition to his wonderful humor, the author gives us insight into some of the entainment influences in his career and contemporary comedy. In addition to laugh out loud and insightful moments, Steve Martin shares memories from his childhood that are touching, often sweetly funny, and sometimes heart wrenching.

    This will be a great book for all baby boomers. And if you don't like it as much as I did, then EXCUUUUUUUUSE MEEEEE!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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