- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 1, 2007
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000ZM8GL8
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Audiobook – Unabridged
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Anyway, a good relaxing read and I'd recommend it to anyone, especially if you're fascinated by Steve Martin. =-)
The end result of his years of working as a magician/stand up comic is the brilliant comic genius that gave us The Jerk, All of Me, Roxanne, Three Amigos!, Parenthood, Leap Of Faith, and so many other memorable movies. Unfortunately, it also led to him becoming fed up with performing his stand up comedy which I personally miss. However, thanks to his recent DVD release of Steve Martin: The Television Stuff, I can go back and still find much amusement from those years.
In reading the book, it came across to me as very honest. I believe all of it is true and it has enhanced my admiration of Steve Martin.
That broad anecdote gives me a funny feeling, because I am writing about my youth in the same way Steve Martin writes about his youth in Born Standing Up. Over these 200 pages, Martin recounts two main things: his somewhat dysfunctional upbringing, and the evolution of his stand-up routine. Both of these topics are interesting, but strangely Martin does not try to directly link the two. Reading this book is kind of like studying The Enlightenment and the French Revolution side by side. It's all good stuff, but it would be nice to see more connections made from a motivational standpoint.
Certainly he explains how his early comedy influences shaped his later work, which is useful to anyone trying to make sense creatively out of what they most enjoy in popular culture. But the more personal lessons Martin learned from this period in his life are often implied or even glossed over. The best he does to explain this is at the end, in a friend's quote: "In psychoanalysis, you try to retain a discovery; in art, once the thing is made, you let it go." This seems true to an extent, but it's hard to square that theory with a book as retrospective and autobiographical as this one.
Very little of Martin's screen acting career is discussed here, but that's by design: he's talking about his career as a stand-up comedian. Even with the title in mind, I was expecting to get a more complete view of Martin's life, so that was a bit of a disappointment. On the plus side, there are a lot of great period photos. He is always identifiably Steve Martin, the comedian man-child, and his hippie look is embarrassing and chuckle-worthy. (One of his captions: "No comment.")
Born Standing Up is a quick read (I devoured it in an evening) and provides a heck of a lot of insight into comedy and live performance in general. With that in mind, it is an ideal book for anyone trying to make it in show business, although nowadays a YouTube video probably gets you more fame than a good night at a comedy club. It's also a good throwback for the Baby Boomers who made his reputation in the first place.
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(These additional words in parentheses were added to make the review long enough for Amazon. )