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.
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.
Amy M. (georgiagymdog) - , reviewed Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Helpful Score: 3
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.
A funny and touching recount of his life, from his childhood in the newly-built Orange County, CA to his adult life on the nation's finest stages. A very human, humble retelling. My husband and I both enjoyed reading it quite a bit!
Jeff S. reviewed Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Helpful Score: 1
Steve Martin gives you a look at the evolution of one of the greatest stand-up comics ever to grace the stage. From cub scout routines to packed auditoriums, Steve lets you see behind the scenes of the comedians creative process. Interwoven in his rise to fame is his conflicting feelings toward a stoic, sometimes abusive, father who never really understood his work. Steve's adventures at the top of the comic mountain are mirrored by the decent into solitude as his act became so popular, the nuances and subtleties of his routine became lost. At the right time and with the right friends, he was able to make the transition to film where he still enjoys success today. I would recommend this book.
Steve Martin has had such a long, successful career that you forget it had to start somewhere. He really started with nothing, selling guide maps in front of Disneyland and then getting a job in one of their magic shops. Amazing talent (although he never says that about himself), lots of persistence, and some luck are all part of his amazing rise to fame as a stand-up comic. It's written from a great perspective - he hasn't done stand-up in many many years, and he's looking back at that time in his life. This is a good, interesting, fairly easy read. I highly recommend it.
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.
A pretty dull read. It was a linear path from kid to breaking out in The Jerk. But nothing all that interesting in between. No stories about being on the road. No backstage antics. Just a boring "I did this. Then I did this." read.
A quick, interesting read. The only problem with the book is that he never stays with a topic for too long (much like his stand-up act). I enjoyed it but I do wish he spent more time talking about other aspects of his life (his family, his interest in art, his SNL days, his movie/writing career).
Holly K. reviewed Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Very honest look at Steve Martin's standup days. There are very funny parts of the book, but it was meant to be reflections rather than written comedy. And was there anyone famous during that time period that he didn't meet, befriend or date? I really enjoyed the book and was awed by the amount of himself he chose to reveal.
David W. (niugnep) reviewed Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Steve Martin has long been one of my favorite comedians and his autobiography just reinforces that. He smart, witty and extremely funny. This book has lots of old photos of his rise through the small clubs and working at Knott Berry Farms, which I thought were interesting to see side-by-side with the time he talks about.
If you're a person with comedic aspirations of your own (which I'm not), this is a MUST HAVE. He details the craft of comedy in great detail. But even if you just like his comedy, this is definitely worth the read.