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

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2016-reading-challenge

Two stars is generous. [Which is why I edited this review and am giving it one star. I normally don't finish a one star book, but this was the audiobook and it was short, which is why I stuck it out.] The audiobook is only four hours but I spent most of it being mad. I finished it because it was so short and I kept hoping it would get better. What's the saying? Don't meet your heroes? Admittedly I didn't know much about Steve Martin's standup, so shame on me, but I've always liked Steve Martin and I thought this would be an interesting and fun read, especially as he reads the audiobook himself.

Unfortunately, reading this book is like listening to self-indulgent, creepy, self-aggrandizing drivel and corny dadjokes from your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving who wants everyone to know about his accomplishments and is very pleased with himself while everyone else rolls their eyes behind his back. Every female in the book seems to exist solely for decoration: they are almost all, to a person, described by their looks and whether or not Steve Martin had sex with them. The one exception I can think of is Gilda Radner and another woman from SNL, who are described in passing and in terms of what their voices sound like. He skips pivotal plot points-like mentioning a divorce even though he never mentioned the marriage-and comes dangerously close to whining about being misunderstood. Perhaps the worst part is that despite reading/performing his own memoir (about comedy!), his tone is flat and rather than bring the material to life he manages to make it more boring. I laughed exactly once in this book about comedy, and smiled fewer times than I have fingers on one hand. Yes, I counted. It was that bad. Did I mention I spent a lot of this book feeling angry and gross?

F-. I will never be able to watch Father of the Bride the same way again. Thanks a lot, Steve Martin!
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Reading Progress

September 21, 2016 – Shelved
September 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
September 30, 2016 – Started Reading
October 1, 2016 –
25.0% "I can't decide how I feel about this yet. Slower and funnier than I expected-and that's with Martin himself reading it. We shall see."
October 5, 2016 – Finished Reading
December 26, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-reading-challenge

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Kathryn I found your review after you commented on mine and yes, ours both sound similar in many ways. Although the book itself has not stuck with me, my memory of it was how painful and boring it was and how he seemed so stuck on himself. Maybe that's why he never mentioned a wife or kids; he felt he overshadowed in importance. Reading your review, it sounded like a 1 star was more highly-deserved, since 2-star reviews means it was ok. I rarely give books 1 star, mainly because I DNF a book before I finish one that is headed in that direction. Like you the only reason that I kept on with it was because it was so short and I expected (hoped) it would improve and once I listened to a couple hours and thought that I did not enjoy it, there were only a couple hours left and I thought what it could hurt. Turns out that any respect I had for the man was what was hurt, but that's actually his fault not mine. I just can't understand all the 4 and 5- star reviews.


message 2: by Erin (new)

Erin Goettsch Giiiiirl change this to 1 star. You hated it!!! (I sort of love people's hate reviews, especially yours.)


Caitlin You are both absolutely right, and Kathryn, you nailed it: I normally would give up on a book before I rated it one star, but because this was both short and an audiobook it was easy to buzz through and keep hoping it would get better. One star it is.


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