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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve…
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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Steve Martin (Author)

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3,0961453,257 (3.79)53
The riveting, mega-bestselling, beloved and highly acclaimed memoir of a man, a vocation, and an era named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly. In the mid-seventies, 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. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away." Emmy and Grammy Award-winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written. At age ten 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. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes. 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 sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies. Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.… (more)
Member:dmcgough
Title:Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Authors:Steve Martin (Author)
Info:Scribner (2007), Edition: 1st, 209 pages
Collections:Your library
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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin (2007)

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I listened to this one during a few of the many hours I've spent in the car this summer, and it was a joy for this child of the '70s and '80s to learn a bit about the man behind SNL's "wild and crazy guy," Steve Martin. He lends fascinating insight into the process of creating comedy--a whole lot of thought and planning goes into eliciting a few laughs from a crowd!--while shining a light on a pivotal period in American entertainment and opening up a bit about his family and relationships. The paper book has a lot of pictures, so I've checked that out too and am going to flip through it as soon as I have a chance, but listening seems like the way to go when Steve Martin is telling the tale. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Man of many disciplines tells us about his start into comedy. Starting with magic and working at the magic shop in Disneyland and moving on from there he tells his story. From a distant and critical father to the heights of stardom his climb was not one of an overnight success but a slow methodical climb. ( )
  foof2you | Feb 28, 2021 |
How did a shy guy become the world's most popular "wild and crazy guy," while remaining an introvert? Steven Martin tells us in his remarkable memoir “Born Standing Up” (2007).

Martin got his start when Disneyland opened in Anaheim, just a bicycle ride from his home. He started working there as a 10-year-old, passing out brochures. Already fascinated by magic, he hung out in the magic shops in the park and eventually got a job at one of them, demonstrating tricks and learning the comic patter.

He traces the real start to his show business career to the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott's Berry Farm, where as a teenager he performed regularly in a variety of acts for park visitors, including solo performances incorporating magic, banjo picking and comedy, most of the latter borrowed from others. Then came the long, lonely road of trying to make it as a standup comic traveling across the country from one small club to another, sometimes performing for, quite literally, an empty house.

Success came gradually, thanks to television appearances and a comedy record. He says it took years for Johnny Carson to get his act, scheduling him only when his show had a guest host. Martin clicked with Carson about the same time he clicked with everyone else, and almost overnight he was performing to crowds of thousands of people. Martin calls this success "the loneliest period of my life." It was a life lived mostly on stage and in hotel rooms, his sudden fame making it impossible for him to walk down the street or eat in a restaurant.

Martin tells about his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and the beginning of his movie career, both of which multiplied his income, fame and loneliness. He quit stand-up after a performance in Atlantic City. "I went to my dressing room, opened my travel-weary black prop case, and stowed away my magic act, thinking that one day I would open it and look at it sentimentally, which for no particular reason, I haven't."

Yet Martin does get sentimental about the Bird Cage Theatre, which he returned to refresh the memories it holds, and about his family. He says he never felt loved by his father and never got close to his older sister, yet once his days on the road ended he was able to connect meaningfully with both of them.

Martin, the author of several books, is a terrific writer. His memoir moves along spritely, full of humor and grace. And lots of photos. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Feb 22, 2021 |
Great biography. As with all geniuses, he make his success seem natural and proper. I lived through his big time and it was a time to behold! Well worth the read. ( )
  frfeni | Jan 31, 2021 |
Really interesting account of how Steve crafted his act. It struck me how much he analysed his work and strove to perfect it. Very insightful. ( )
  Vividrogers | Dec 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
there is a tendency for critics to be so overwhelmed with surprise that they overburden the resulting volume with praise. In the case of Steve Martin's exquisitely pithy and precise memoir of his life as a stand-up comedian, however, the over-familiar accolade "beautifully written" really is the only one that does the job.
 
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To my father, mother, and sister, Melinda
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I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years.
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The riveting, mega-bestselling, beloved and highly acclaimed memoir of a man, a vocation, and an era named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly. In the mid-seventies, 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. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away." Emmy and Grammy Award-winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written. At age ten 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. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes. 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 sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies. Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.

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