Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

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 Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been awriter. 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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-03-30
Contemplative, yet fun - hilarious lines here or there, but not aiming to have me rolling on the floor, I enjoyed this memoir from Steve Martin. What was it that made him give up his stand-up act at the peak of his career?

Like myself, he had a difficult relationship with his dad. Is there redemption for them, at the end, or does his dad always remain distant?

Read this if you are interested in learning about the life of a comedian/showbiz star, or are looking for a quick, engaging read about this man.

Read it to be saddened by parents who disappoint their children and what children have the ability to do in order to rectify the situation.

NOTE: there are a few places with bad language and adult situations that are referred to (although not in detail and not gratuitous.)
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