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Born Standing Up Audiobook

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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  •  
    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 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela J United States 12-20-07
    Pamela J United States 12-20-07 Member Since 2016

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

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    "A stand-out book"

    I've always liked Steve Martin, but it wasn't until I started to read his books that I can say I LOVE Steve Martin. And this book, more than even the fiction he's written, reminds me of what a great talent he is.

    I'm not a celebrity watcher so I was hesitant about this one. I finally decided I'd try it because I thought it might be sort of funny. Yes, there's humor but this much more about an era. I was zapped right back to my adolescence and early adulthood spent watching Saturday Night Live and learning to do the "Tut" walk. It's a great book if you get the references (does everybody remember the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band?) but even if you don't it's a revelation on how comedians are created (or create themselves) from their circumstances. Seldom are we priviledged enough to really get into someone else's head, but you'll want to crawl inside this one and enjoy looking around. Loved it.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 04-28-12
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 04-28-12 Member Since 2009

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. Allen Il, USA 12-21-09
    V. Allen Il, USA 12-21-09 Member Since 2009

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 11-12-09
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 11-12-09 Member Since 2010
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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.

    3 of 3 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
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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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    patrick dailey Parma, OH, US 04-14-09
    patrick dailey Parma, OH, US 04-14-09 Listener Since 2007
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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
  •  
    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."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Orford 12-06-08
    R. Orford 12-06-08
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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
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  • A User
    8/4/11
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful

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