Born Standing Up A Comic's Life Author:Steve Martin In the midseventies, 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 Shopgir... more »l 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.« less
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A quick read - but very interesting and entertaining. I found Steve Martin to be a very smart man, and more human than i had expected from such a huge star. It gave me a greater appreciation of his talents, and i was not a huge fan of his, prior to reading this book. both my husband and i enjoyed reading about his growing up in OC and his rise to comedy fame.
Interesting and quick read, but I wish he had spent more time on his SNL days and his movie career. The focus is almost entirely on his stand-up comedy days. Not as humorously written as I had expected, but there is the occasional laugh-out-loud line. Liked it well enough, but didn't love it.
The funnyman behind the ubiquitous King Tut gets serious in his 2007 memoir, Born Standing Up, highlighting his rise to fame and the pitfalls and heartaches that came with it.
Martin speaks of his many struggles to obtain steadiness in performing, including unenthusiastic crowds and unrequited opportunities. Add in a few anxiety attacks, Saturday Night Live skits and sparing relationships and liaisons, and you have yourself the life of one "wild and crazy guy".
But before Martin hit the stages of some of the biggest U.S. arenas with his stand-up comedy, little Steve of the '50s began his antics with magic. His fascination with visual trickery quelled his performing bug for a few years, but his gift of the funny ultimately won him his appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and various television programs, sold-out headliner gigs and countless adoring fans.
Behind the fame and fortune, though, lay an entirely different person, suffering from never-ending anxiety attacks night after night, unintentionally putting his entire life on display under the spotlight, and receiving anything but raves about his career and gigs from his father. Years after breaking away from the intimate skits and inspiring audiences of his younger days, Martin sought a return to anonymity. His choosy, thorough approach to his inspiring movie career has ensured just that. But you have to admit - if the guy is so private, why is he writing a memoir?
Good question. But that's what makes this 200-page read interesting - it isn't like many other memoirs that spill scandalous secrets by the truckload. He instead allows his forgotten past to take center stage. Only a few juicy romantic tidbits are available in this book, and the youthful will find no mention of his later works such as Pink Panther, or the tale of his own making, Shopgirl. Martin just scratches the surface of these years with the '79 flick, The Jerk, and no matter how much I wanted to hear about its filming, there was only one mention of the comedic Three Amigos.
His bouts of loneliness throughout his whirlwind tour of the nation are sad, but not despondent; he doesn't attract sympathy because of his success, but you do want to give him a hug.
All in all, Martin knows how to write a good story, even his own. While his narration is fluent, detailed and wise, the occasional quip (especially the ones regarding former roommate, comedian Gary Mule Deer) help fans and foreigners alike relive the comedic magic that has captured a million laughs.
While this was only an overview of Steve Martin's early career, I found it quite interesting since the first person point of view illuminated events that I only saw at the time as a spectator and fan. It certainly emphasizes that "stardom" is never an overnight phenomenon, even if it seems that way from outside looking in. An interesting book and a quick read.