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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

4.3 (7784 )
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Performance
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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 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 11-16-16
    Robin 11-16-16
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    "Some parts expected, some not"

    The most interesting part of this book is Steve's childhood and early adulthood trying out all kinds of entertainment. His absurd humor is tied to his background as a philosophy major. It's great having him narrate, as he always knows exactly how he wanted things to sound. Nothing earth-shattering, but entertaining.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. YEO 09-21-16
    G. YEO 09-21-16

    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.

    2 of 3 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!

    2 of 3 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 3 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 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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.

    2 of 3 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 5 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 5 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 5 people found this review helpful

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