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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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  •  
    Christopher SOMERS, MT, United States 07-13-09
    Christopher SOMERS, MT, United States 07-13-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Why he walked away"

    Quite a memoir from the once "wild & crazy guy"! Steve dated Stormie Omartian? (GASP! LOL)

    The flat tone may turn some listeners off, but Steve Martin wisely chose it to emphasize just why he walked away from stand-up comedy after all the work he put into making it.

    Steve Martin has a great reading voice, and I think he has another career ready when he decides to walk away from acting.

    Highly recommended!

    8 of 10 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 2012
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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 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rod Morgan 12-16-08
    Rod Morgan 12-16-08 Member Since 2010

    Unclejack

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    "Charming, startling and highly rewarding"

    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."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ChuckDPhoto Boulder, CO USA 12-04-07
    ChuckDPhoto Boulder, CO USA 12-04-07 Member Since 2013
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    "Steve Martin is brilliant"

    I had never realized how innovative Steve Martin's humor was. I had only enjoyed it immensely since first experiencing it on SNL and his standup albums. He reads in a rather flat voice but it is Steve himself and that makes it so special. I have trouble imagining reading the book when I can hear it in his own voice. Insightful and revealing. Even touching.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 08-07-09
    Lori 08-07-09 Member Since 2006
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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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. YEO Singapore 09-21-16
    G. YEO Singapore 09-21-16 Member Since 2016

    gyeo

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    "Really & Truly Boring"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Hard to say. The story was pretty dry.


    What was most disappointing about Steve Martin’s story?

    His life doesn't reflect the zaniness of his work. While I get that, his life actually sounded quite boring outside of his career and rather unremarkable.


    How could the performance have been better?

    He sounds very unenthusiastic and flat.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Born Standing Up?

    hard to say


    Any additional comments?

    Watch his movies, but avoid this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bram koster 06-10-16
    bram koster 06-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    "pretty dull"

    this book had two high profile recommendations. so I thought it might be fun and interesting. it was neither.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam george 04-18-16
    sam george 04-18-16
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    "I Trusted Comedians"
    What did you like best about Born Standing Up? What did you like least?

    I was really excited to specifically listen to this book because so many comedians I like recommended it. I heard that it was hilarious and captivating because it was read by Steve Martin himself. So when I started the book I had high expectations for some laughs. I found it to be the opposite. Although it was well written Steve read in a monotonous and depressing tone the entire time. I zoned in and out at points because it was so boring, this is not something I usually do especially if I pay for an audio book. He went go over very minute details of his first jobs before he was famous thoroughly and skipped over big interest things like SNL and his movies.


    Would you recommend Born Standing Up to your friends? Why or why not?

    No.


    What three words best describe Steve Martin’s voice?

    Monotonous, Slow, Lethargic


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Lou Hubisz 04-04-16
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    "no real insight"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tev 03-25-16
    Tev 03-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Boring"

    I felt that Steve Martin was really a book written by someone else. His projection and tone were dry and often listless as if he didn't find the story any more interesting than I did. I finally gave up~ the book was not interesting nor entertaining. Hopefully Mr. Martin was able to work through his life issues during this process so that he can continue on the big screen, which is where he belongs!

    1 of 1 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
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    "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
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    "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
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    "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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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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