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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Paperback – Sep 2 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (Sept. 2 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416553657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416553656
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Martin recounts his tense childhood, his desire to become a magician and his segue into standup comedy in his surprisingly serious and eloquently written memoir. Martin's memories are perceptive and emotionally honest even though he confesses early on that while writing this book, he felt some events in his life seemed to happen to someone else and I often felt like a curious onlooker. Martin's writing is spare, concise and evocative, and he's a smooth and limber reader, an assured and relaxed, seasoned raconteur. Martin runs through some of his classic comedy routines to give listeners an idea of how they developed into his anti-comedy sets (humor without punch lines). Enjoyment while performing was rare, he reveals. Enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford. After 18 years of studying, refining and finally succeeding, Martin ends the book when he gives up the solitary standup life in favor of a collaborative life making films. Martin also provides the banjo music that plays between chapters.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

"Absolutely magnificent. One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written." - Jerry Seinfeld, GQ

....

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 18 2007
Format: Hardcover
Born Standing Up will be of most interest to young people who want to create a career performing in stand-up comedy. I was fascinated by Steve Martin's recollections of the lessons he learned at the magic shop in Disneyland and in performing at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm. Both places were favorite haunts of mine while he was doing his apprenticeship, and I'm sure I saw him perform but don't remember him. Knowing a lot about both places, it made it easier for me to appreciate the other steps he took to develop an act and to become recognized. His description of being on the Tonight Show was a good lesson in patience . . . the first dozen or so appearances don't do a thing for your career.

Having seen him perform, I could never figure out why he chose to do the self-deprecating bit and wear a white suit. Now I know how all that came about. It was definitely interesting.

But if you want to know a lot more about Steve Martin, the man, and his daily thoughts and challenges . . . this book will leave you disappointed.

At times I felt like I was reading a book about how to plan a career rather than an autobiography -- especially towards the end when he explained how heavy touring while you are hot makes it inevitable that you won't develop the new material you need to stay hot. I guess there's a reason why Bob Hope always had so many writers working for him.

I haven't always enjoyed Steve Martin's humor, and I found myself wondering over some examples of what was great about his humor. If you aren't a big fan of Steve Martin's or don't want to be a stand-up comedian, you might find it wisest to skip this book. It's probably a two or three star effort for you.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 18 2007
Format: Hardcover
Born Standing Up will be of most interest to young people who want to create a career performing in stand-up comedy. I was fascinated by Steve Martin's recollections of the lessons he learned at the magic shop in Disneyland and in performing at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm. Both places were favorite haunts of mine while he was doing his apprenticeship, and I'm sure I saw him perform but don't remember him. Knowing a lot about both places, it made it easier for me to appreciate the other steps he took to develop an act and to become recognized. His description of being on the Tonight Show was a good lesson in patience . . . the first dozen or so appearances don't do a thing for your career.

Having seen him perform, I could never figure out why he chose to do the self-deprecating bit and wear a white suit. Now I know how all that came about. It was definitely interesting.

But if you want to know a lot more about Steve Martin, the man, and his daily thoughts and challenges . . . this book will leave you disappointed.

At times I felt like I was reading a book about how to plan a career rather than an autobiography -- especially towards the end when he explained how heavy touring while you are hot makes it inevitable that you won't develop the new material you need to stay hot. I guess there's a reason why Bob Hope always had so many writers working for him.

I haven't always enjoyed Steve Martin's humor, and I found myself wondering over some examples of what was great about his humor. If you aren't a big fan of Steve Martin's or don't want to be a stand-up comedian, you might find it wisest to skip this book. It's probably a two or three star effort for you.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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Format: Paperback
During one of Steve Martin's recorded stand up performances he asked the audience "how'd I get so effin' funny?". He answers by explaining that before the show he puts boloney in his shoes so that he "feels" funny.

This book answers the question honestly. You find out how his life experience led to his unique and original standup performances.

At 200 pages the book is a quick, well written, easy read. Steve's reflections are thoughtfull and illuminating. You feel that you get to know the man behind the celebrity.

Facinating book if you've ever been facinated by the originality of Steve Martin's humour.
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Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent memoir by Steve Martin of his days doing stand up comedy from the 1960s to the early 1980s.

I'd recommend buying the audio book version rather than the print version. The print version is good but Steve Martin's narration on the audio book adds something extra to the final package.

I have a forty minute highway commute to and from work and I usually pass the time listening to audio books. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
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Format: Paperback
I'm confident that Mr Steve Martin is the finest magician-turned writer-turned standup-turned movie star-turned writer there ever was. I absolutely loved this book and more than anything, it made me want desperately to go back and find some live footage of his standup from the peak of his career. Fans should love this, non-fans should enjoy the story, and anyone with a sense of humour should get it. Also highly recommended: Pure Drivel.
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By Talulah on July 26 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really liked this memoir. Steve Martin has a great perspective on life and he's pretty laid back about his experiences. Its great for when you want a break between heavier books. Highly recommended especially if comedy is your thing.
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