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Pure Drivel

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  5,666 Ratings  ·  416 Reviews
Steve Martin has always been one of the most intelligent of comedians (you won't find Adam Sandler writing a play about Einstein and Picasso anytime soon), but this intelligence is manifested in gymnastically absurdist flights of fancy, rather than the politically informed riffs typical of performers like Lenny Bruce. Pure Drivel is a collection of pieces, most of them wri ...more
Published (first published September 16th 1998)
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(showing 1-30)
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Roy Lotz
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
Product not as described. Contains trace amounts of wit and seven parts per million of satire.
Melki
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-essays
Martin has always been rather hit or miss for me. I loved The Pleasure of My Company, but was very "meh" on Shopgirl. This one is even a step below "meh." I guess that means putting it in the "blech" category.

At least it's aptly titled.
Chy
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t even know where to start. Plot is not a factor. This is a collection of pure drivel, for certain. It’s tidbit thoughts and ramblings and short story pieces. It’s wrought with Steve Martinism.

Whatever do you mean, Chy? you ask.

“Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol,” Martin says, near the beginning. I was hooked. I loved it. I poured myself a mix drink, shoved my own writing projects aside, and dove in. Martin went on such a meander
...more
Mark Rayner
May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It baffles me how this got in the non-fiction category, but at its heart, Pure Drivel is a selection of absurd short stories, some of them verging on flash fiction. I particularly enjoyed the closing pieces about the shortage of periods in Times New Roman (the most loathed font ever), "Bad Dog" and "Side Effects."

I listened to this one, rather than read it, and I feel like it was the right banana.
Tricia Bateman
Nov 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you've been wondering how bill murray managed to stage a comedic comeback but not steve martin, then you're just not looking in the right place. martin's humor is still sharp as ever. it's just been in written form for the last decade. my favorite essay in this one is "times new roman announces a shortage of periods." it's written with only one period over 3 pages and cracks me up every time i read it.
Raghav Modi
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure Drivel is my go to book for all occasions. A collection of quirky shorts by actor/author Steve Martin the book is a wonderful addition to any collection. Martin's humour shines in the stories and while everyone might not get his humour or enjoy it, for me this book is the ultimate in comic writing.
Joanne
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satire
I wish Steve Martin would read to me every day....
Tom
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Steve Martin so these essays were bound to deliver. I think my favorite was Lolita in her later years.
Bruce
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of words and Steve Martin's standup comedy schtick, so pretty much everyone
Going to the library to find Mark Twain's travel books, I was directed to the humor section. There I came across the three thin volumes that form the basis of this triple review. Generally speaking, it's probably not fair to the authors to compare their respective works, but I'll exercise the prerogative anyway because these are all so similar (and who's gonna stop me). Each of these books weighs in at a squidge over 100 pages, with about 20 short essays that achieve absurdity mostly by putting ...more
Andy
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In many ways Steve Martin could be considered a comedian for my parents' generation. By the time I started watching SNL in High School and college he had long since left the show (Norm MacDonald, Phil Hartman, and then eventually Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey, and Jimmy Fallon were the stars when I was watching it most.) Also, I haven't seen that many of his movies. I was born in the '80's, so I missed most of his comedies when they first came out. The movies I recall seeing with him in the cast are fi ...more
Megan
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, audiobook
1.5 stars

There's no way I would've finished this had it been by any other author. I'm a big fan of Steve Martin (I could watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles over and over and over) and I figured this would be an enjoyable, humorous audiobook to listen to on my commute to work since he also narrates it. I don't know how to explain it but it just wasn't funny to me. I might've snorted in derision a couple of times but that was more in sarcastic solidarity when Martin was especially snarky. Seve
...more
Matt
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first foray into reading anything written by Steve Martin, and I must admit I am now on the hunt down for some more fiction as this book was fabulous.

Overall this is a laugh out loud book of 23 short (some pieces are so short they could well be considered flash fiction) stories, and all of them without exception could well be considered literature of the absurd, i.e. "The Sledgehammer: How It Works"- which is exactly what the title suggests, and so much more. Another favorite piece w
...more
Hayes
I love Steve Martin, but this book is mostly Drivel, with a capital D. One or two good pieces, the rest so severely dated that I didn't get the joke. Or perhaps I am so old that I don't remember the joke. Whatever.

The two best pieces are:
"Times Roman Font Announces Shortage of Periods": the whole piece is consequently written without full stops; and

"Schrödinger's cat" (see Wiki article) where Martin presents us with other paradoxes such as Wittgenstein's Banana, Elvis's Charcoal Briquette, and
...more
Troy Blackford
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a funny collection of essays and short pieces by Steve Martin. Everything from writing tips (on dialog: 'just dumb yourself down by 50 IQ points, and type') to imaginary medication warnings ('may contain bungee cords'), this book was pleasantly all-over-the-place in topics, but always amusing. From the shortage of periods that Times New Roman is currently experiencing, to a piece recommending sledgehammers to those who are afraid of new technology, I was laughing at all of the stuff in ...more
Eric Wallace
This collection of short stories is not his best work (The Pleasure of My Company would be hard to top), but nevertheless each piece is thoroughly in line with his delightful brand of "anti-humor". To give you an idea: several hours after reading the title story, it struck me as a far more thoughtful (and amusing) commentary on his own work than I had imagined while reading it.
Mary Jane
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on CD, read by Steve Martin. I can see how some people would have trouble getting into this, since you really need to be in the right frame of mind to "get" Steve's humor in this one. Hearing him read it made a huge difference, I'm not sure I'd enjoy it as much if I read it myself.
Teri
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty, dry, ridiculousness of the talented Steve Martin! His observations of the banal life continues in all his works, with a last second intelligent uppercut, to drive in his point. He's definitely an original!
SarahTheUnready
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most inspirational work of satire I have yet to read.
Jessica
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is funny! But, then again, I love Steve Martin. My favorite bit is "Sledgehammer."
Margie
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collections, humor
These shorts come across almost like scripts for a Steve Martin comedy routine. They're very funny, but need to be read over the course of quite a length of time; too much at once lessens the humor.
Whitney
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steve Martin is my favorite comedian. He has the best mix of Nabokov jokes and underpants jokes.
Em
Sep 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-recommended
Good title for this book because it is a ton of drivel, and it went into my donation box as soon as I finished it. I jokingly told Dave his drivel is much more Ivory-soap-pure compared with this. Really most the pieces weren’t even amusing, let alone profound or funny. Unlike the plays of Martin I read recently I’ve had this volume for years (it’s a 1st Edition) and I think I tried to read this before and gave up after a few essays. But I’m glad I now finished it because the best piece was the l ...more
John of Canada
For all you readers,I definitely recommend Lolita at 50 and The Hundred Greatest Books That I've Read.Typical weird Steve Martin humour.3.5 stars
Karen
My story with Steve Martin is kind of weird. Due to my age and the fact that I didn't grow up in the United States, I never really knew much about Steve Martin as a comedian. Growing up in Paraguay, I only knew him from the movies I sometimes caught on cable while channel surfing. These movies were usually subtitled or dubbed in Spanish, usually romantic comedies, usually light and fun. I thought of him as the cute (yes, I know, even as a 12-year old I was a weirdo) dude with white hair who was ...more
Denny
I am a Steve Martin fan. From his work on Saturday Night Live, to his movies, his stand-up, and his musicianship, I've enjoyed almost everything I've ever seen or heard by him. Not so Pure Drivel. Not once did I laugh out loud; in fact, I barely mustered one or two chuckles over the course of the whole audiobook. There were a couple of sketches that were decent, like the one about the shortage of periods in the Times Roman font, but for the most part it was a collection of exactly what the title ...more
Richard Gartee
Comedian Steve Martin is also a prolific writer. This collection of short comedic essays appeared in the New Yorker and other publications. His written humor differs greatly from his sort of slapstick movie style. Sly, thought provoking, and sophisticated pieces such as Schrodinger's Cat, simultaneously amuse and boggle the mind.
Jessica Elder
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this on a long car trip- the audiobook is only 2 hours long which is nice for mixing things up. Read by the author and has good music, too- classical music snippets as a punchline, which made me nostalgic for growing up on Martin's movies as a kid. Pretty funny!
David Ward
Pure Drivel by Steve Martin (Hyperion 1998)(818). This is a collection of the driest essays ever from the fertile mind of Steve Martin. He was obviously having an off day when he penned this. Essays they are, humorous and comedic they are not. My rating: 6/10, finished 2000.
Rex Libris
As much as I enjoy Steve Martin's movies, the short comedy sketches he writes are really very hit or miss.
Jonathan
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its poignancy can easily surprise you when it peeks out between laughs.
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Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician, and composer. He was raised in Southern California in a Baptist family, where his early influences were working at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm and working magic and comedy acts at these and other smaller venues in the area. His ascent to fame picked up when he became a writer for the Smothers ...more
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“LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA: WHY IT'S A BAD TITLE

I admit that "Love in the time of . . ." is a great title, up to a point. You're reading along, you're happy, it's about love. I like the way the word time comes in - a nice, nice feeling. Then the morbid Cholera appears. I was happy till then. Why not "Love in the Time of the Blue, Blue, Bluebirds"? "Love in the Time of Oozing Sores and Pustules" is probably an earlier title the author used as he was writing in a rat-infested tree house on an old Smith Corona. This writer, whoever he is, could have used a couple of weeks in Pacific Daylight Time.”
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“Scientists at first were skeptical that a kitten-type being could exist in the rare Martian atmosphere. As a test, two Earth kittens were put in a chamber that simulated the Martian air. The diary of this experiment is fascinating:

6:00 A.M.: Kittens appear to sleep.
7:02 A.M.: Kitten wakes, darts from one end of cage to another for no apparent reason.

7:14 A.M.: Kitten runs up wall of cage, leaps onto other kitten for no apparent reason.

7:22 A.M.: Kitten lies on back and punches other kitten for no apparent reason.

7:30 A.M.: Kitten leaps, stops, darts left, abruptly stops, climbs wall, clings for two seconds, falls on head, darts right for no apparent reason.

7:51 A.M.: Kitten parses first sentence of daily newspaper that is at bottom of chamber.

With the exception of the parsing, all behavior is typical of Earth kitten behavior. The parsing activity, which was done with a small ball-point pen, was an anomaly.”
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