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A Re-invented Martin scores with a masterly winner.
on 8 November 1999
Steve Martin is a funny man. Over the last few years it had seemed that he lost sight of this, but after reading this book I have the image of a man who has succesfully managed to re-invent himself from a man of wacky actions and broad physical humour to a man who sees humour as a literary endeavour - a change much the same as Groucho Marx undertook between the late 1940's and early 1960's.
What he has written are a collection of spot on parodies, some marvellous pieces of observational humour, all rolled up in a comfortable blanket of intelligence - most of which seem to be written by a man who is happy in his work, and who is clear about how much "Steve Martin" there should be in the writing. Essentially, it is an anthology of magazine articles published in the late 1990's dealing with topics as diverse as shortages of punctuation in modern typefaces to Michael Jackson's old face ("the things I could have said!!"). In book form it works because it has the advantage that you don't have to scurry around looking for old library back issues of magazines to find them.
Martin excels in these pieces, and it shows that mastering one craft doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't reach out for another.I really do hope he will continue to work in the same vein for a long time to come, and not cut short his literary career a'la Woody Allen. Overall, these are Five crowns well deserved, methinks!!!