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4.2 out of 5 stars
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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 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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on 30 August 2014
I enjoyed the positive feeling of Martin's enthusiasm for his career search from Disneyland to amateur dramatics to college and beyond. He was not"woe is me" but grateful and celebratory, even when doubting his next step. I'm glad I read this and I wish it had covered further years.
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on 9 September 2013
I first heard Steve Martins stand up about twenty years ago and I loved it straight away. Off beat and very funny. the story behind it is fascinating and enlightening. I found it very hard to put down this book and have raved about it to interested parties. If you like steve martin buy it, if you're interested in comedy its also well worth a read for the approaches to the sketches. Great read!
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on 7 August 2016
I read this book as it oddly appeared in a list of "100 books you must read before you die" in The Observer and this guy has always made me smile.

It's a good read, no doubt, but no idea what it was doing in that list.

If you are interested in what a stand-up comedian had to go through to "make it" back in the 50-70s then it's for you.
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on 24 May 2013
Read how this comic genius went from amateur magician at Disneyland to become a huge stand-up comedian in 70's America, and then why he walked away from stand-up for good. It will make you laugh, it will make you sigh, and it will make you appreciate Steve Martin even more.
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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 5 October 2013
Interesting and pleasantly sober, but to my mind not the beautifully-written milestone book that many of the reviews suggest. To UK ears at least, Roy Hudd's 'A Fart in a Colander' is less pretentious, much more fun, and better-written too...
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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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