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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.

Critic Reviews

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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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Excellent

The book is very well written and even better narrated by the man himself. Evocative of a comedy era long past, Steve Martin has some gems he shares.

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I have always loved Steve Martin.

I enjoyed meeting the real man in this book. I saw Steve Martin perform on stage when I was young and thoroughly enjoyed his performance.

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Eerrfff...

I never really got his humor, I still don't. When he listed some of his favorite lines he had to retire - it clicked - in not into his brand of humor.

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I have and will always adore Steve Martin.

I grew up watching his movies and have always thought him funny and very likable. I really enjoyed this look behind the scenes and into his reasons and life. It was nostalgia and funny and thoroughly enjoyable. As Steve Martin himself might have ended this review... I really liked the story, but the narrator could have done a better job trying to sound like Steve Martin.

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  • Sylvia
  • CULLMAN, AL, United States
  • 10-04-16

Well, excuuuuse me!

Would you consider the audio edition of Born Standing Up to be better than the print version?

Hearing Steve Martin tell his own story has got to be better than just reading it to oneself!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Steve Martin is a marvelous writer!

Any additional comments?

I was quite surprised to learn of Steve Martin's life experiences. His reactions to the processes of becoming a performer and, eventually, famous were eye-opening. This is a very enjoyable listen! Stimulates thought.

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Never found SM funny comedian interesting story

Never found SM TO BE FUNNY..........
..STORY WAS INTERESTING and. reminiscing or many stars or yesterday

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  • Pianomom
  • Aleutian Islands, AK
  • 10-04-16

Getting real

As someone who is one of untold numbers of Steve Martin fans, I don't personally know him. Listening to this book gave the essence however of listening to him speak candidly and intimately about his journey in comedy both growing up and as a professional. Lessons learned, funny moments, painful ones. Humility. Love. An artist who evolved and is still evolving as a human being certainly (inasmuch as he is just as human as anyone else ), but a human being rich with intellect, perspective, wisdom. Evolving with his talent and living his integrity. someone many of us strive to be.

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  • Starky360
  • Tucker, GA United States
  • 10-04-16

Brilliant Insight Into A Comic Legend

Steve Martin's highly introspective retelling of his early years in comedy is required reading for anyone considering a career in the performing arts.

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Beautifully performed

I'm a fan of Steve Martin's films but unfamiliar with him as a standup comedian so this was new territory for me. He carried me along and I enjoyed the ride tremendously till about the last half hour, where it seemed that he skipped lot, grew somewhat hardened and rushed to the end. I may have to give the last hour another listen to see if that impression remains. I respect his work enough to want this book to be good.

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interesting insights.... interesting man....

this was a very good read. Very interesting story about an exceptional person. Honest, funny and endearing.