We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Born Standing Up Audiobook

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Regular Price:$23.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

4.3 (7550 )
5 star
 (3922)
4 star
 (2449)
3 star
 (961)
2 star
 (166)
1 star
 (52)
Overall
4.3 (5736 )
5 star
 (3051)
4 star
 (1771)
3 star
 (740)
2 star
 (139)
1 star
 (35)
Story
4.6 (5758 )
5 star
 (3909)
4 star
 (1276)
3 star
 (446)
2 star
 (97)
1 star
 (30)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Billy 01-09-10
    Billy 01-09-10

    Billy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Really good"

    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.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scotty Canada 01-10-17
    Scotty Canada 01-10-17 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Little Engine That Could"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 09-22-16
    Diana 09-22-16 Member Since 2013

    Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1183
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    451
    346
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    102
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Smart, contemplative, funny - enjoyable listen"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharey 09-22-16
    Sharey 09-22-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    221
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    355
    149
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Huh? Boooooring!"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Lou Hubisz 04-04-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    ABC Williams Clarkston, MI 10-07-15
    ABC Williams Clarkston, MI 10-07-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    barney lobar Indiana 07-28-15
    barney lobar Indiana 07-28-15 Member Since 2014

    review master2008

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "average read and listening"
    What did you like best about Born Standing Up? What did you like least?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Steve Martin? Why or why not?

    Not really. He is not a very open author or engaging.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Maybe have someone else read it? Add some personal info. Does not compare well to Billy Crystal's book.


    Did Born Standing Up inspire you to do anything?

    Maybe watch some of his Saturday Night Live appearances.


    Any additional comments?

    I was disappointed in the lackluster performance. Almost stopped listening. But I slogged through. Was just okay.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 08-07-09
    Lori 08-07-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    259
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    204
    47
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    24
    Overall
    "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 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rod Morgan 12-16-08
    Rod Morgan 12-16-08 Member Since 2010

    Unclejack

    HELPFUL VOTES
    155
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    46
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "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 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ChuckDPhoto Boulder, CO USA 12-04-07
    ChuckDPhoto Boulder, CO USA 12-04-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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 6 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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
  • T Parks
    12/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well review me!"

    Loved this audio book. I'm a huge Steve Martin fan but a little too young to remember his period as a stand-up,*&& so hearing his vivid account of that era helped match the archive footage that exists to his personal experience.

    One thing that stands out is that he absolutely worked his butt off to achieve fame. 5 sessions a day! No wonder he experienced stand-up burn-out via the creative vacuum of repetition.

    It's a very touching audio book and one that I hope he expands on with regards to his career as an on-screen actor. I'd love to hear what he experienced making All of Me or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

    If you're a fan or someone interested in the restless 70s then you owe it to yourself to have a listen.

    0 of 0 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
  • SeanC
    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

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.