Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Born Standing Up

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What I liked: This book was incredibly well written. The author took us inside his head, explained the how and why of his comedic creation. Some parts of the book were intimate and personal and some parts were vague - which I felt added to the biography. It wasn't endless droning on and on about his personal life or his career in show business, it was a pleasurable mix of both that never crossed the "TMI" line.

What I didn't like: I can't, honestly, think of anything I didn't enjoy about the book. It even had pictures! I love biographies with pictures sprinkled throughout the book (and not just clumped into the middle of the book).

Final Thoughts: I'm not a Steve Martin fan, but this book was enjoyable to read. It was funny and insightful and moving. It took me completely by surprise.

Pub. Date: November 2007

Synopsis: At age 10, Steve Martin got a job selling guidebooks at the newly opened Disneyland. In the decade that followed, he worked in Disney's magic shop, print shop, and theater, and developed his own magic/comedy act. By age 20, studying poetry and philosophy on the side, he was performing a dozen times a week, most often at the Disney rival, Knott's Berry Farm.

Obsession is a substitute for talent, he has said, and Steve Martin's focus and daring his sheer tenacity are truly stunning. He writes about making the very tough decision to sacrifice everything not original in his act, and about lucking into a job writing for The Smothers Brothers Show. He writes about mentors, girlfriends, his complex relationship with his parents and sister, and about some of his great peers in comedy Dan Aykroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Reiner, Johnny Carson. He writes about fear, anxiety and loneliness. And he writes about how he figured out what worked on stage.

This book is a memoir, but it is also an illuminating guidebook to stand up from one of our two or three greatest comedians. Though Martin is reticent about his personal life, he is also stunningly deft, and manages to give readers a feeling of intimacy and candor. Illustrated throughout with black-and-white photographs collected by Martin, this book is instantly compelling visually and a spectacularly good read.

Recommended Reading:
Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Home by Julie Andrews


Aths said...

This one sounds amazing! I am not a Steve Martin fan, but I would still love to read the memoir! Esp, considering you enjoyed it too!

linda said...

very thorough review!
i found myself here doing a blog search for reviews for this book (something I love to do after i post my own)

i see you've read shopgirl, have you read pleasure of my company? or pleasure of my own company? also a great book by steve martin.