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Pure Drivel Paperback – Bargain Price, October 6, 1999

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Paperback, Bargain Price, October 6, 1999
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Editorial Reviews Review

Don't listen to Steve Martin read this hysterical compilation of his most absurdly funny writings if you're recovering from abdominal surgery or have taken a vow of silence. Martin's brilliant, juxtaposed wordplay, sly commentary, and hilarious observations are delivered with such a droll wit that only a dead person will avoid unabashed laughter. Genius is in the ear of the beholder and Martin's metronomic timing allows each sentence to unravel perfectly. His deadpan delivery is often clever enough to make you laugh twice at the same line and makes it clear why he has enjoyed such remarkable success as an actor, screenwriter, playwright, and author. (Running time: two hours, two cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like Woody Allen, Martin expresses his intelligent, innovative, and self-conscious humor in many forms, including the written word. The short essays, conversations, and proclamations collected here are relayed in a slyly deadpan Valley voice that belies the coiled craziness of their content. Martin also brings his gift for comedic timing to these creations, setting a quirky beat that perfectly sets off their ironic wiles. The laugh-out-loud funniest pieces have a vivid physicality to them, such as "Side Effects," a hilarious takeoff on the precautions accompanying prescription drugs, while the most complex works offer witty commentary on the esotericism of science, the pretension of art, and the act of writing itself. The last gave rise to the delectable "Times Roman Font Announces Shortage of Periods," in which even the typography is amusing. Martin gets in some quick jabs at the absurdities of Washington, D.C., tells a tale from a dog's perspective, and pokes fun at Mensa, always crafting prose as notable for its meticulousness as for its drollery. And then he turns all but poetic in a piece about a "New York writer . . . forced to visit Los Angeles," a story that turns into a bittersweet and unexpectedly moving defense of his almost-beautiful, ever-hopeful city against its harshest critics. Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (October 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078688505X
  • ASIN: B000GY78DM
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,246,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Martin, one of the most diversified performers in the motion picture industry today--actor, comedian, author, playwright, producer, musician - has been successful as a writer of and performer in some of the most popular movies of recent film history.

In March of 2010, Martin, along with Alec Baldwin, co-hosted the 82nd Annual Academy Awards - his third time serving as host of the prestigious award show.

On January 31st, 2010, Steve Martin's banjo album, The Crow / New Songs For The Five-String Banjo, won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.

Christmas 2009 saw Martin share the screen with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in Universal's "It's Complicated." The comedy, directed by Nancy Meyers, tells the story of a divorced couple (Streep and Baldwin) who discover that their feelings for one another might not have completely disappeared. Martin plays Adam, the soft-spoken and sweet architect who also vies for Street's characters' affection.

In 2008, Martin had two books published: In October, Doubleday released a children's book titled The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z!, co-written with fellow The New Yorker illustrator Roz Chast. In December, Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up, was published by Scribner.

Additionally, in December of 2007, Martin was the recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor.

In February 2006, Martin was seen in "The Pink Panther" playing the role of Inspector Clouseau, originally made famous by Peter Sellers. The film, which reunites Martin with director Shawn Levy, costarred Beyonce Knowles and Kevin Kline. In 2009, Mr. Martin will revived his role of Inspector Clouseau in "The Pink Panther 2."

In 2005, Martin received critical praise for the Touchstone Pictures film "Shopgirl," costarring Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. The screenplay was written by Martin and adapted from his best-selling novella of the same name. "Shopgirl" follows the complexities of a romance between a young girl, who works at a Los Angeles Saks Fifth Avenue glove counter while nurturing dreams of being an artist, and a wealthy older man, who is still learning about the consequences that come with any romantic relationship.

Christmas 2003, Martin starred in the highest grossing film of his career, "Cheaper by the Dozen," directed by Shawn Levy for 20th Century Fox. The family comedy, co-starring Bonnie Hunt and Hillary Duff, has grossed over $135 million domestically. Christmas 2005 saw the much anticipated sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" staring the original cast and adding in a rival family, headed by Eugene Levy. In February of 2003, Martin starred with Queen Latifah in the blockbuster comedy, "Bringing Down the House" for Touchstone Pictures which gross $132.7 million.

Mr. Martin hosted the 75th Annual Academy Awards in 2003, his second time handling those duties, the first being the 73rd Oscars. The 75th Annual Academy Awards was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including a nomination for "Outstanding Individual Performance In a Variety or Music Program".

Born in Waco, Texas and raised in Southern California, Mr. Martin became a television writer in the late 1960's, winning an Emmy Award for his work on the hit series "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." By the end of the decade he was performing his own material in clubs and on television.

Launched by frequent appearances on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," Mr. Martin went on to host several shows in the innovative "Saturday Night Live" series and to star in and co-write four highly rated television specials. When performing on national concert tours, he drew standing-room-only audiences in some of the largest venues in the country. He won Grammy Awards for his two comedy albums, "Let's Get Small" and "A Wild and Crazy Guy," and had a gold record with his single "King Tut." In 2003, Martin also won a Grammy® Award for Best country instrumentalist for his playing on Earl Scruggs 75th Anniversary album.

Mr. Martin's first film project, "The Absent-Minded Waiter," a short he wrote and starred in, was nominated for a 1977 Academy Award. In 1979, he moved into feature films, co-writing and starring in "The Jerk," directed by Carl Reiner. In 1981, he starred opposite Bernadette Peters in Herbert Ross' bittersweet musical comedy, "Pennies From Heaven."

The actor then co-wrote and starred in the 1982 send-up of detective thrillers, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" and the science fiction comedy "The Man With Two Brains," both directed by Carl Reiner. In 1984, Mr. Martin received a Best Actor Award from both the New York Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review for his performance opposite Lily Tomlin in "All of Me," his forth collaboration with writer/director Carl Reiner.

In 1987, his motion picture hit, "Roxanne," a modern adaptation of the Cyrano de Bergerac legend, garnered Martin not only warm audience response, but also a Best Actor Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Best Screenplay Award from the Writer Guild of America. Mr. Martin was also the executive producer on the film.

In 1988, he costarred with Michael Caine in the hit comedy film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," his second feature collaboration with director Frank Oz (the first being "Little Shop of Horrors"). In 1989, he starred with Mary Steenburgen and Diane Wiest in Ron Howard's affectionate family comedy, "Parenthood" for Universal Pictures.

In 1991, Mr. Martin wrote, starred in and co-executive produced the critically acclaimed comedy, "L.A. Story," a motion picture about a love story set in Los Angeles. That same year he made a cameo appearance in Lawrence Kasdan's critically lauded "Grand Canyon" and starred with Diane Keaton in the hit Disney film "Father Of The Bride," receiving the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture for the latter. In 1992, he starred in the Universal comedy feature "Housesitter," opposite Goldie Hawn, winning the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy, for the second year in a row.

In 1996, he starred again with Diane Keaton in the hit sequel to "Father of the Bride," and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 1997, he received universal critical acclaim for his riveting performance in director David Mamet's thriller, "The Spanish Prisoner."

Mr. Martin wrote and starred in the hilarious 1999 feature comedy, "Bowfinger," opposite Eddie Murphy for Director Frank Oz. The film was showcased at the Deauville International Film Festival.

Mr. Martin's other films include classic comedies like Frank Oz's "Little Shop of Horrors," in which he played a demented dentist; John Hughes' "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," co-starring John Candy and the comic Western send-up "The Three Amigos" co-staring Marin Short and Chevy .

In the fall of 1993, Mr. Martin's first original play, the comedy-drama "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," was presented by Chicago's prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre. Following rave reviews and an extended run in Chicago, the play was presented successfully in Boston and Los Angeles, and then Off-Broadway in New York at the Promenade Theatre, to nationwide critical and audience acclaim. It has since been, and continues to be, mounted in productions worldwide. "WASP" a one act play that Martin wrote, was first performed at the Public Theatre in NY in 1995. "The Underpants," a dark comedy Mr. Martin adapted from the 1911 play by Carl Sterneim, premiered Off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company on April 4, 2002.

In 1996, Mr. Martin was honored with a retrospective of his work, by the American Film Institute's Third Decade Council at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. He was also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. In 2004 Martin was honored for his film work by the American Cinematheque.

A selection of paintings from his extensive, private, modern art collection was given a special exhibition at the Bellagio Hotel gallery in Las Vegas in 2000, with catalog notes written for the show my Mr. Martin.

After the success of his first novella Shopgirl Mr. Martin's second novella, "The Pleasure of My Company," published by Hyperion, once again was ranked on best seller lists around the country including the New York Times. He has written a best selling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and his work frequently appears in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on August 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
from my jail cell and still running for public office, I realize I have taken several actions in my life for which I owe public apologies.
And so begins the Author's "A Public Apology" in "Pure Drivel". I thought this little collection of wit to be not only funny, but also extremely well penned. If the thought of Steve Martin conjures the image of him clad in Egyptian Regalia singing "King Tut", you will find there is much more to this actor, comedian, playwright, writer of short stories a forthcoming book, and musician.
Mr. Martin not only has an extremely unique view of life, he has the ability to deliver it through all of the methods listed above. I agree this was short, I also believe were it much longer, its impact would have been lessened. Timing is what this man does so well, and knowing when enough means finished, is a rare talent indeed.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Haugh on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I would like to warn anybody who is considering taking this book on a plane to read. I did this, as it is a short, humorous read--airplane fare. But ohhh, what a mistake. I had to stash it in my bag after ten minutes and multiple glances from the passengers around me. For you see, a plane is a very quiet, packed-in environment--not very conducive to rolling-on-the-floor, eyes-reddening-with-tears laughter--which was the case when I first tried to read _Pure_Drivel._ All in all, Steve Martin is the comic genius everyone claims him to be, and this book is a fine example of his propensity to write incredibly funny essays. Yes, you SHOULD buy it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Norton on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Steve Martin. My favorite comedian. I must admit that when I bought this book, I was looking for straight-up comedic laughs as only Steve Martin can deliver. What I got was not what I expected, but still was very intriguing. This book is a short read, true, suited for maybe a book to read while travelling (just not while you're driving) or just trying to pass time.
First off, it might not be what you expect. For those of you who have read Steve's 1979 book "Cruel Shoes," this is the same type of humor. Mainly quirky little things that might make you say, "hmm?" Some of it is rather bizarre, as some people have complained, but I don't think that merits a complaint at all. The book is a pleasant read, especially for those with more complex minds who enjoy a more "mature" laugh rather than low-class, low-brow bathroom humor. If you are this kind of person, or if you are a fan of Steve Martin's work, I recommend you buy it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By N. Pierre on September 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
I knew this book would be funny, as Steve Martin never disappoints. Well, it's true. The little 'stories' are nice and short, so it's perfect to read before bed. Recently I came across my copy again, so I started to page through it and ended up reading the entire thing again. Also, this is probably the only book in our entire house that my husband hasn't suggested that we donate or sell. That says it all. :p
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jean Baldridge Yates VINE VOICE on May 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book of humorous pieces by one of our most famous, irreplacable comic minds, was very tricky for me to review. Especially because I was reviewing it while making animals out of balloons, playing the banjo, and writing a screenplay for my next film....while hanging upside down.
Yes, folks, this is not an easy book to review.
And it's not easy humor to "get" all the time.
If you are dumb, don't buy this book. Oops, sorry.
If you are pretentious, consider buying this book, but don't read it. Whoops.
If you like to pass out laughing at certain things and you are willing to let other things go that are not totally "perfect" for your tastes in humor, BUY THIS BOOK.
Steve Martin has an amazing, remarkable BRAIN and he is trying many things with these pieces in this book. It is not meant to be a cohesive whole, written in a single style. Do not expect to love all of it.
But the parts that get you..are really really worth it.
Good Father's Day book.
I love Steve Martin. And this little book is diverse, far ranging, and worth typing upside down for.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Steve Martin's collection of "New Yorker" short pieces is so intellectually inspired, that one is tempted to analyze it and perhaps alienate potential readers. So, I will restrain from doing that. Nor will I try to imitate his inimitable style (uh oh, too late!). On with the review:
This is a hilarious, smarmily profound (in the manner that Martin seems to have invented), clever, wise, stimulating, and yes, laugh-out-loud (Martin could do a whole essay on that overused phrase) funny book. As a slim volume (115 pages) it's a bit pricey, but the material is so dense, so rich with humor, that even the least of these is worth reading several times over. Martin absolutely skewers the trendy in such pieces as "Closure" and "On Writing":
"Because topics are in such short supply, I have provided a few...
'Naked Belligerent Panties': This is a good sexy title with a lot of promise...
Something about how waves at the beach just keep coming and coming and how amazing it is (I smell a best-seller here).
'Visions of Melancholy from a Fast-Moving Train': Some foreign writer is right now rushing to his keyboard, ready to pound on it like Horowitz."
Like Bill Murray, Martin can both inhabit and distance himself from his targets, and he is a master of light-hearted mockery: In "Dear Amanda," as Joey, he writes "It was a lucky coincidence that my cat leapt on your speed-dial button last night, as it gave us a chance to talk again. Afterwards, I was wondering what you meant when you said, `It's over, Joey, get it into your head.'"
Martin's own topics are mostly about the arts in general, and writing in particular. He has a knack for the throwaway line (from "Times Roman Font...
Read more ›
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