Chris's Reviews > Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
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Jul 12, 08

bookshelves: memoir
Read in July, 2008

I've always been fascinated by the comedian who gets famous for stand-up and then decides to move into movies and TV, all but leaving their original act behind. I remember conversations with friends in the Boy Scouts about how lame we thought it was that Eddie Murphy didn't do stand up anymore... but when I would counter with "Yeah, and I wish Steve Martin was still doing his act!" I usually got blank stares.

Martin's stand-up is very rooted in its time, which I realize now is one of the reasons many of my friends weren't too into his absurdist stage routines and novelty songs... but I was, from the moment I discovered an old LP of "Let's Get Small" in a Goodwill store.

I say all that to say this- I really loved this book. Martin lays out the inner workings and scaffolding for his most memorable comedy bits and routines by sifting through his relationships with his family, friends, and early forays into show business (including fascinating tales of Martin's time at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm). Many times when a famous person writes about their life, they write about the effects that their celebrity has had on them. Martin does that here, but more interestingly, he gives the causes equal weight... to terrific effect, I think.
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message 1: by Alice (new)

Alice I didn't even know Steve Martin started off in stand-up, but it doesn't surprise me - it seems to be how all my favourite comedians started out, e.g. Robin Williams and Don (Get Smart) Adams.


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