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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

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  •  
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-16-13
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-16-13 Member Since 2010

    Lots of books lots of time. I love all things Star Wars and fantasy. The Bartimaeus trilogy (or quad) maybe the perfect series. Jonathan Stroud and Douglas Adams are my heroes.

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    "Great but Short (Not Martin)"

    I have a deep and abiding love of Disneyland, so does Steve Martin. If you like his comedy styling, close up magic, 5 string banjos, and anecdotal stories read by a legendary comedian then credits ahoy!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen Johannesburg 01-28-13
    Jen Johannesburg 01-28-13
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    "Good, but not what I expected"

    I enjoyed this audio book, and it was lovely having the author perform it himself. With regard to the story, I had hoped for more about Steve Martin's life, but I suppose the title does suggest the fact that it is more about Steve Martin's stand up career than himself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Cardiff, Australia 05-12-11
    Terry Cardiff, Australia 05-12-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Wonderful"

    Love him or hate him, it's difficult to deny that this man is a complex and multi-talented performer. Made all the more powerful by Steve Martin's own narration, Born Standing Up will be added to my all time favourites list. From his very humble beginnings and the long road to stardom, this book covers the highs and lows of Steve Martin's life. His narration is intensely personal and engaging and presents an insight into the life behind the public facade.
    A truly wonderful book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swad Los Angeles 08-03-10
    Swad Los Angeles 08-03-10 Member Since 2006

    swadmeister

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    "Fantastic"

    This book was a real treat. Martin has an amazing amount of insight into his life and success. Anyone considering a career in show business would learn a great deal from his story. It was great to hear him read his own book as it almost always is, but in this case the listener gets a bonus in that when Martin recounts some of his old material he more or less performs it at times, making the comedy come alive as it did in his appearances and recording. Highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blashy Québec, Canada 02-16-09
    Blashy Québec, Canada 02-16-09
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    "The biography of his career as a Stand Up comic."

    So a 6 hour listen was plenty and having Steve read it was fantastic.

    Great book on the life of stand up comedy and if you're a Steve Martin fan, the book is a must.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rod Morgan DC 12-16-08
    Rod Morgan DC 12-16-08 Member Since 2004

    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."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Hanford, CA, USA 04-23-08
    Gary Hanford, CA, USA 04-23-08
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    "touching and funny"

    I have always loved Steve Martin's work and now I understand how his distinct sense of humor developed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    John Eugene, OR, USA 03-27-08
    John Eugene, OR, USA 03-27-08
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    "A Funny, and Touching, Book"

    Steve Martin does an incredible job capturing his time as a stand up comedian and the experiences that shaped him as a performer. Yes, the book is funny, but it is also very poignant as he takes the time to explore how his childhood and family shaped the person that he became as an adult.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Ted Mystic, CT 01-27-08
    Ted Mystic, CT 01-27-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Very Good"

    Interesting and intelligent insights from the mind of Steve Martin. His own voice is sincere and engaging to listen to. His look back on his stand-up period is objective. When I watched him when I was a college student, I just thought he was funny. His book shows there was interesting stuff going on under the surface that I didn't see. This is a serious look and although it has funny moments that made me laugh it is more than that. Steve takes you along through the world of stand-up from the performer's side with a realism and credibility that makes it interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Lloyd Ithaca, NY, USA 01-26-08
    Lloyd Ithaca, NY, USA 01-26-08
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    "great comedian, so-so novelist"

    I bought this book because I'm an unabashed Steve Martin fan and not too proud to admit I was one of the thousands who went to his comedy concerts in major arenas, relishing in every rendition of King Tut or his Grandma's song. For someone who's an excellent writer of screenplays, his autobiographical writing style is really too full of cliches and elementary similes, but in the end the book provides what it advertises: a look into the process that created (IMO) one of the most gifted stand-up comedians of this or any other generation. It'a quick and enjoyable listen, but really only if you're a fan of Martin. I don't think it would appeal to anyone else.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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