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5 Local Warehouse Film and Television- Actor Biographies

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

by

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Cover

 

Staff Pick

At times uproarious, often sentimental, and always laced with the wit and charm we've come to expect from Steve Martin, this is a warm and enjoyable portrait of his life in stand-up from childhood to his last show in 1981.
Recommended by Ann E., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 a writer. 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.

Review:

"Neatly combining his personal and professional worlds, beloved comedian, filmmaker, author, magician and banjoist Martin (Pure Drivel) chronicles his life as a gifted young comedian in this evocative, heartfelt memoir, which proves less wild and crazy than wise and considerate-though no less funny for it. The typically reticent performer shares rarely disclosed memories of childhood-his father, a failed actor, harbored increasing anger toward his son through the years-and the anxiety attacks that plagued him for some two decades, along with his early success as a television comedy writer, first for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and the evolution of his stand-up routine. Sharp insight accompanies stories of his first adult gig (at an empty San Francisco coffee house), his pioneering 'no punch lines' style ('My goal was to make the audience laugh but leave them unable to describe what it was that had made them laugh'), appearances on programs like The Steve Allen Show and breakthrough moments with small, confused audiences. Though vivid and entertaining throughout, Martin doesn't dish any behind-the-scenes dirt from Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show; rather, he's warm and generous toward everyone in his life, including girlfriends and colleagues. Tellingly, this intimate early career recap ends not with Martin's decision to give up live performance or his film debut The Jerk, but with a visit to his parents and Knott's Berry Bird Cage Farm, where he first performed as a teenager." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Steve Martin has become such a reliable and (if we can just blot out the memory of his Clouseau film) such a beloved figure in film and TV that it's hard to recall that time — roughly the second half of the 1970s — when he was one of America's first great counter-countercultural comedians. Somehow, when we least expected it, the politically barbed satire of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin was supplanted... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Born is a smart, gentlemanly, modest book. That it comes from a man who's spent his life lampooning arrogance makes it all the more winning. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Even for readers already familiar with Mr. Martin's solemn side, Born Standing Up is a surprising book: smart, serious, heartfelt and confessional without being maudlin." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"Absolutely magnificent. One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written." Jerry Seinfeld, GQ

Synopsis:

Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning comedian and bestselling author Martin delivers one of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written . . . absolutely magnificent (Jerry Seinfield).

About the Author

Steve Martin is one of today's most talented performers. He has had huge success as a film actor, with such credits as Cheaper by the Dozen, Father of the Bride, Roxanne, Parenthood, L.A. Story, and many others. He has won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for his comedy albums. In addition to his bestselling novel The Pleasure of My Company and a collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, he has also written a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. He lives in Los Angeles.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

wurdnurd, February 18, 2010 (view all comments by wurdnurd)
More a treatise on Steve Martin’s unique brand of absurdist humor, this slim memoir discusses his influences and experiences and how and why he developed his style. A notoriously private person, it’s hardly surprising that Martin glosses over his romantic entanglements, marriages and divorces and his relationship with his sister. His parents receive perfunctory (and poignant) mentions at the beginning and end. Instead, it’s all about Martin’s career as a stand-up comedian: the beginnings, the height (and hype) and the abrupt end. His television, movie and literary careers are all mentioned only in context to stand-up, which lends this memoir a tight, controlled pace and makes for a quick, fun read that works.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Dr. Rico, November 11, 2009 (view all comments by Dr. Rico)
Martin is well known as a writer and actor, but for a few years in the late 1970s he was a comedy god, making three platinum albums and performing hundreds of sold-out arena shows. This is an unsparing but also unsentimental look at how he created that act, drawing on his interests in magic, the banjo, philosophy, and art, set against his unhappy family life and his nomadic days as a young performer and writer. Martin is smart enough to be able to comment on the nature of his act, even if he may not have understood it at the time, and honest enough to keep the reader enthralled. This is an exceptional book about both finding your voice and balancing your public and private personae.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416553656
Author:
Martin, Steve
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Subject:
Comedy
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - Comedians
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Entertainers -- United States.
Subject:
Martin, Steve
Subject:
Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Comedy, Comedian, Bestseller, Memoir, Knottand#8217;s Berry Farm, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Riener, Johnny Carson, Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, Why I did stand-up and why I walked away, Stand-up comedy, Cruel S
Subject:
Comedy, Comedian, Bestseller, Memoir, Knottand#8217;s Berry Farm, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Riener, Johnny Carson, Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, Why I did stand-up and why I walked away, Stand-up comedy, Cruel S
Subject:
Comedy, Comedian, Bestseller, Memoir, Knott s Berry Farm, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Riener, Johnny Carson, Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, Why I did stand-up and why I walked away, Stand-up comedy, Cruel Shoes, Pu
Subject:
Comedy, Comedian, Bestseller, Memoir, Knott s Berry Farm, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Riener, Johnny Carson, Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, Why I did stand-up and why I walked away, Stand-up comedy, Cruel Shoes, Pu
Subject:
Comedy, Comedian, Bestseller, Memoir, Knott s Berry Farm, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Riener, Johnny Carson, Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, Why I did stand-up and why I walked away, Stand-up comedy, Cruel Shoes, Pu
Subject:
Comedy, Comedian, Bestseller, Memoir, Knott s Berry Farm, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Riener, Johnny Carson, Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, Why I did stand-up and why I walked away, Stand-up comedy, Cruel Shoes, Pu
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w photos throught
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Acting
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Actors » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Comedy Business and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Narrative
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Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts
Biography » General

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781416553656 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

At times uproarious, often sentimental, and always laced with the wit and charm we've come to expect from Steve Martin, this is a warm and enjoyable portrait of his life in stand-up from childhood to his last show in 1981.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Neatly combining his personal and professional worlds, beloved comedian, filmmaker, author, magician and banjoist Martin (Pure Drivel) chronicles his life as a gifted young comedian in this evocative, heartfelt memoir, which proves less wild and crazy than wise and considerate-though no less funny for it. The typically reticent performer shares rarely disclosed memories of childhood-his father, a failed actor, harbored increasing anger toward his son through the years-and the anxiety attacks that plagued him for some two decades, along with his early success as a television comedy writer, first for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and the evolution of his stand-up routine. Sharp insight accompanies stories of his first adult gig (at an empty San Francisco coffee house), his pioneering 'no punch lines' style ('My goal was to make the audience laugh but leave them unable to describe what it was that had made them laugh'), appearances on programs like The Steve Allen Show and breakthrough moments with small, confused audiences. Though vivid and entertaining throughout, Martin doesn't dish any behind-the-scenes dirt from Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show; rather, he's warm and generous toward everyone in his life, including girlfriends and colleagues. Tellingly, this intimate early career recap ends not with Martin's decision to give up live performance or his film debut The Jerk, but with a visit to his parents and Knott's Berry Bird Cage Farm, where he first performed as a teenager." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Born is a smart, gentlemanly, modest book. That it comes from a man who's spent his life lampooning arrogance makes it all the more winning. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "Even for readers already familiar with Mr. Martin's solemn side, Born Standing Up is a surprising book: smart, serious, heartfelt and confessional without being maudlin."
"Review" by , "Absolutely magnificent. One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written." Jerry Seinfeld,
"Synopsis" by , Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning comedian and bestselling author Martin delivers one of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written . . . absolutely magnificent (Jerry Seinfield).
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