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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 27 July 2008
I loved this book. I had no idea Steven Martin was such a wonderful writer. It's not a long read, wish there had been more, but didn't feel the slightest cheated. I absolutely enjoyed the journey he took us, the reader, on. It was personal, insightful, funny, rueful, behind-the-scenes and made me feel I had sat down and had a really good getting-to-know-you chat with this man. Great photos too. I've been a fan since just before he hit it B I G - I'm happy to say I was at the Amphitheatre show he mentioned. I always looked forward to his SNL appearances, and his films. I had the impression he was rather distant and cold as a person. But reading this you realise the depth and warmth there - and that he was always just protecting his sanity during the extreme craziness of the "Wild and Crazy Guy" and "Well Excuuuse Me" era. Highly recommended IF you are a Steve Martin fan.
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on 17 April 2017
This is an enjoyable read and I read it in 2 days. Of course, I'm now starting in stand up, so for that reason I read this. However, you won't learn much about Steve himself. It's mainly about how he started in comedy and the gigs he did up until the film The Jerk. It would have been nice to have a lot more of his material in his book but overall 3.5-4/5 stars is about right. It's a shame he stopped the book at The Jerk. I'd loved to have read about the films he worked on. There's a little bit of his material in this book, some of which did make me laugh out loud. I like his surreal version of comedy and while his nose on the microphone gag may not make everyone laugh, it made me giggle. If he ever re-writes this, stick in a lot more material and take it through his films. Anyway, enjoyable enough!
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on 10 April 2008
I have been a huge steve Martin Fan ever since I saw a clip of him doing stand-up on BBC Comic Relief in 1989. Since then I have seen all his films, purchased his comedy albums and all his books, This book is the best of the lot.

I was in America the day this book came out and I bought it on that day. I couldn't put it down it was such a well written, enjoyable read. It was finished within the day I bought it. His description of him and his fathers relationship is dealt with exceptionally well, the early years at disneyland and the Bird Cage Theatre, The realisation on a sunny day that he is now going to have to write his own material so he can achieve Originality, his relationships, his television writing, his lonely life on the road, all the way through to his enormous success and eventual step-down are all written about in a wonderful, sometime self deprecating, way that I have returned to sections of this book many times since reading it originally.

It is also a book that explains the culture of the late sixties through the seventies from someone who was there but not out of their head all the time... His description of the 'Streets Of SanFrancisco simmering with a toxic vitality' makes me wish I was around at the time as well.

If I have any complaints about this book it is in what he left out, although the stories were mentioned briefly there was no mention of the publication of 'Cruel Shoes' Also there is no mention of his appearance on the Muppet Show, a Television show as Subversive and funny as SNL which he mentions... Also I was disappointed to learn that the white suit he wore, had a practical purpose and wasn't just to make him look crazier...

Excellent Read... Especially for any Comedy Performers out there.
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Born Standing Up will be of most interest to young people who want to create a career performing in stand-up comedy. I was fascinated by Steve Martin's recollections of the lessons he learned at the magic shop in Disneyland and in performing at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm. Both places were favorite haunts of mine while he was doing his apprenticeship, and I'm sure I saw him perform but don't remember him. Knowing a lot about both places, it made it easier for me to appreciate the other steps he took to develop an act and to become recognized. His description of being on the Tonight Show was a good lesson in patience . . . the first dozen or so appearances don't do a thing for your career.

Having seen him perform, I could never figure out why he chose to do the self-deprecating bit and wear a white suit. Now I know how all that came about. It was definitely interesting.

But if you want to know a lot more about Steve Martin, the man, and his daily thoughts and challenges . . . this book will leave you disappointed.

At times I felt like I was reading a book about how to plan a career rather than an autobiography -- especially towards the end when he explained how heavy touring while you are hot makes it inevitable that you won't develop the new material you need to stay hot. I guess there's a reason why Bob Hope always had so many writers working for him.

I haven't always enjoyed Steve Martin's humor, and I found myself wondering over some examples of what was great about his humor. If you aren't a big fan of Steve Martin's or don't want to be a stand-up comedian, you might find it wisest to skip this book. It's probably a two or three star effort for you.
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I am always pleased when I find an author that reads his own work. In BORN STANDING UP, that is the case. Who better to tell the story than the person who wrote it!

When Mr. Martin was doing stand up, I was not a big fan of his. His humor and mind didn't match. Yet, in reading his story, I understand where his humor came from and why. He tells us how he got started in stand up and how it developed. He tells us the story of his life right from his childhood up to today.

He takes us through the learning years where his act was just beginning to the act that everyone wanted to see. He tells the listener how he became estranged from his own family and how he managed to get back together with them again. In other words, he takes us full circle through his life. He even tells us about his writing talent of which I was not aware.

All in all, BORN STANDING UP is a great listen. Even if you are not a fan of Steve Martin, you can't help but become enthralled with his life and why and how he got where he is today.
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on 5 January 2017
Steve Martin recalls his early years as a stand up. He's a meticulous performer and an intermittently amusing writer. The best bits are his remembered routines. The wild and crazy guy persona was carefully put together and it is interesting to see how he grows disillusioned with it.
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on 24 January 2008
I would not usually opt for audiobooks, however, I could not resist having Steve Martin recount his stand-up career in person. I was not disappointed. Granted, I am a fan and I agree with the other reviewer - if you know nothing of the author's stand-up career this book is probably not for you. If your experience of Steve Martin is having seen him in films such as The Pink Panther or Cheaper By The Dozen, then I think it likely this book will not satisfy your expectations.

I enjoyed the many extracts from his old routines that Steve happily delivers in character and there are many insights into what dedication went into perfecting his apparently 'wild and crazy' performances. I never knew of his mental breakdown (which lasted some time) before his career took off, perhaps this caused his unusually early whitening of the hair.

Great stuff - oh oh, I'm getting happy feet!
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Most people think they know Steve Martin they expect the person he portrays to be what he is in real life.

If you read this book you will soon learn that Steve Martin the man plays his role of Steve Martin the Stand Up Comedien.

The book is short and an easy read at 207 odd pages with plenty of photographs to illustrate Martin's life throughout. It's an easy read and reallly feels like Steve Martin is narrating his life story to you. I was facinated.

Steve takes us from his youth and his family how that influenced him or not - if you read the book you will understand what I mean about that statement- Martin's father Glenn had a complex relationship with him.
He reminises about his early work at the new Disney Land then Knott's Berry Farm and later.

You learn that Steve Martin is good at playing the actor Steve Martin and behind the act is a serious intelligent man who is like an iceberg. Only the tips of his character are on show.

It's an honest biography. Martin is generous in telling us how he has borrowed techniques and styles and he gives credit where credit is due.

I read the book and my respect and admiration for the man were increased.
I would not be a person who would go up to Martin in the street and shout 'I'm a Wild and Crazy Guy' whilst wearing an arrow through my head rather a simple nod and good day would be my tribute to a shy and serious man.

I read the book to find out- to learn something about Steve Martin and with this short book it did just that.
Other reviewer's complain that he is not as honest as he should be and does not delve too deeply into his life but then why should he this is Steve Martin's book written by Steve Martin. If you want a 'warts and all expose' then that's the job of another author who writes a biography
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on 3 May 2009
American comic and film actor Steve Martin explores the development of his standup routine, his road to fame and the reasons behind his retirement from the stage in this short but entertaining biography, laced with some of his best lines and accounts of his favourite routines. The book is often poignant, especially when exploring his difficult relationship with his father and contains evocative accounts of some of his early experiences. I am looking forward to reading his account of his film career.
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Steve Martin is a very talented writer. He has written several novels, all of which I have enjoyed hugely. I also like his body of work on film. I decided I would read his biography on the strength of it, especially as I was too young, and growing up in a different country, to come into contact with any of his stand up material.

I confess to finding the book slightly disappointing. It is not very personal, although he does talk about his relationship with his family and how that affected his stand up career. You do get the feeling though that if his relationship with them hadn't so profoundly shaped his career, that he probably wouldn't have mentioned them at all.

It is quite a clinical book. It charts his early interest in comedy and his influences, and then breaks down his career in steps until he reached the pinnacle of his fame as a stand up, whereupon he quit. He deals only briefly with the film The Jerk, and that's about it.

I imagine it would be a fantastic book if you were interested in analysing Martin's routines, and/or studying a route to getting into stand up, although how relevant his experiences would be today is questionable.
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