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

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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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: 4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Neatly combining his personal and professional worlds, beloved comedian, filmmaker, author, magician and banjoist Martin (Pure Drivel) chronicles his life as a gifted young comedian in this evocative, heartfelt memoir, which proves less wild and crazy than wise and considerate-though no less funny for it. The typically reticent performer shares rarely disclosed memories of childhood-his father, a failed actor, harbored increasing anger toward his son through the years-and the anxiety attacks that plagued him for some two decades, along with his early success as a television comedy writer, first for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and the evolution of his stand-up routine. Sharp insight accompanies stories of his first adult gig (at an empty San Francisco coffee house), his pioneering "no punch lines" style ("My goal was to make the audience laugh but leave them unable to describe what it was that had made them laugh"), appearances on programs like The Steve Allen Show and breakthrough moments with small, confused audiences. Though vivid and entertaining throughout, Martin doesn't dish any behind-the-scenes dirt from Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show; rather, he's warm and generous toward everyone in his life, including girlfriends and colleagues. Tellingly, this intimate early career recap ends not with Martin's decision to give up live performance or his film debut The Jerk, but with a visit to his parents and Knott's Berry Bird Cage Farm, where he first performed as a teenager.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

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

....

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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