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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve…

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

by Steve Martin

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3,3161513,387 (3.8)54
Martin reflects on his over 30 years in the comedy business, from writing to performing and everywhere in between. He offers listeners a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look into the mind of an artist at the top of his game.
Title:Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Authors:Steve Martin
Info:Scribner (2007), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin (2007)


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Steve Martin comes across as a sophisticated, but goofy guy who just happens to be a genius at comedy. But in reading his memoir about the years leading up to and during his stand-up comedy career, that’s definitely not the way he sees himself.

Martin comes from a humble mid-twentieth-century family. He got his first job at Disneyland at age 10 and rode his bicycle to and from work every day. While he was obsessed from a young age with show business, it didn’t really come naturally to him. He worked hard for the bits that were to later make him famous. He recounts his life while sharing the inspiration for some of his most famous gags.

As his album title Comedy Isn’t Pretty asserts, his astronomical career was due to a mixed bag of luck, dogged hard work, and deep thought. The timing he’s so celebrated for was developed by study and laser focus.

If you’re thinking of reading this book for non-stop laughter, you’d be better off buying one of his albums or watching his old SNL skits or movies. This book is about his actual experiences growing up, both the good and the bad.

While the book is a quick and easy read, it leans more toward musings on what life is really all about in the end. For Martin, it seems to be about relationships and integrity. I’m a bigger fan for having read it. ( )
  Library_Lin | May 9, 2022 |
This was an interesting autobiography (audiobook) read by the author. He had a trying life and he was candid about the things he was experiencing. He really did think things through before writing it. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
I've been a fan of Steve Martin since I first saw him appear on the Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour. This book, copyright 2007, focuses on his time as a stand-up comedian, but there are chapters covering his childhood and the roots of his desire to perform, as well as concluding with him moving on to other ways of entertaining, starting with movies.

The prose is straightforward, making for an easy, fast read, and I was fascinated by his journey to find his comedic voice, along with the insecurities he dealt with early in his career. Photos imbedded in the text are wonderful glimpses of how he became a "wild and crazy guy." ( )
  ShellyS | Jan 17, 2022 |
Not quite as good as I wanted it to be, but I learned a lot about a person I like, so that's cool. ( )
  JorgeousJotts | Dec 3, 2021 |
In the best of ways, this book is not what I expected it to be, as it’s more memoir and reflection than comedy book. It winds up a delightful, poignant read, interspersed with Steve Martin’s trademark wit and humor. In this book, Martin recounts his early life, his early efforts as a magician, performer, and writer, and eventually, as an incredibly successful stand up comedian. The book also details Martin’s strained relationships with his family and eventual reconciliation with them. That leads to many surprisingly poignant and touching moments.

Parts of the book make for a great how-to manual for the development of a great stand-up routine, and all the work and sacrifice that goes into that effort. It also describes the loneliness, dark moments and difficulties that Martin—like many other comedians—experienced as he achieved success. His candid acknowledgment of the depression and anxieties he grappled with gives me even more appreciation for Martin as both a person and comedian.

All in all, this is a quick and easy read that is poignant and lovely, alternately bringing smiles, tears, and occasional laughs to the reader. ( )
  bentleymitchell | Aug 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (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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Martin reflects on his over 30 years in the comedy business, from writing to performing and everywhere in between. He offers listeners a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look into the mind of an artist at the top of his game.

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