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Extended Audio Sample Born Standing Up: A Comics Life Audiobook, by Steve Martin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (25,384 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steve Martin Narrator: Steve Martin Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2007 ISBN: 9780743569736
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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, is a memoir written by the famed comedian Steve Martin.

Martin says he wrote this book to explain why he got into stand-up comedy and why he left it behind in 1981. Sensational when he first arrived on the national stage, he continued through the seventies to gain the largest following for a comedian for concerts in history.

From his early days to his career at Disney, to the bottom run café houses and clubs all the way to his final weeks at the famous Bird Cage, Steve Martin narrates the effect on his relationship that came from his struggle and his fame.

Originally he began selling tour books for the park at Disney, and for ten years after he worked at Knott's Berry Farm in their theatre, performing musical numbers alongside his stand-up sketches at least twelve times a week. Inspiring and illuminating are the tales that come out of these years. Martin details all the self-discipline and humbling he underwent to keep his work original. Though he got to the stage often, this frequency made him lonesome and created a disconnection between him and his family.

The hippie days and their segue into the Vietnam Way are detailed, as well as the background of the Smothers Brothers from the 1960's evolving to a national taste for the Saturday Night Live Series in the 1970's.

Multitalented Steve Martin is an author, comedian, writer of screenplays, musician, producer, and playwright. He has won many awards and was listed 6th on the 100 best comedians by Comedy Central.

The Emmy and Grammy Award winner’s candid, and spectacularly amusing memoir of his years as a stand-up comedian.

In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”

At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory.

Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times: the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Absolutely magnificent…One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written.” 

    Jerry Seinfeld

  • “Read it for the intelligent musing, for the insights into burlesque…and the wily art of getting laughs.” 

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Detailing every aspect of the long-gestating development of his persona…Martin shows us how his stand-up comedy greatness was not born, but made.” 

    New York Post

  • “An entertaining and insightful story about the world of stand-up, showing the transformation of a fledgling entertainer into a comic…Born Standing Up is smart, compelling, and truly revealing.” 

    Boston Globe

  • A 2007 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 2/20/2014

    " He's super smart, and relatively humble, and a fine writer. I strongly recommend audiobook, narrated by Martin, for this, as the songs, banjo, and the intonation of his delivery are half the pleasure of the work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 2/20/2014

    " An interesting account of the situations and factors that affected the development of Steve Martin's skills as a comic and performer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin A. | 2/9/2014

    " I quite liked this book. Martin is quite serious away from the stage, and this book is a fascinating look at his career and a thoughtful reflection on his early life and stand up days. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandie | 2/3/2014

    " everything you ever wanted to know about Steve Martin "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Al | 2/1/2014

    " Steve Martin did a wonderful job describing his rise to fame, it was just what I was looking for from him. I always had this curiosity of were he came from, especially after seeing father of the bride. Didn't realize he started off working at disney land. knew he had some connection with the mouse but not that he started with passing out fliers as a child. His errors and final success in stand up was wonderfully done. showing that even he looked back and wondered 'wow i really tryed that' gave the book a nice personal touch. Ok well gonna have to check out some SNL and maybe watch "the Jerk" now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Olga Porterfield | 1/23/2014

    " I listened to it on CDs, so it was sort of fun, if you like Steve Martin and his delivery. No big reveals. Strictly for Martin's fans. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alaine | 1/22/2014

    " I listened to it on audio book, read by Steve Martin himself, loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Howard | 1/7/2014

    " I found this book fascinating to read. The manner in which the author breaks down the development of his craft as he responds to the changes of time, age and audience 'temperature' is a textbook on the development of his delivery of humor. I recommend it highly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Briana Alzola | 1/2/2014

    " I loved it! A look at what it means to be a stand-up comedian. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 12/3/2013

    " A nice story about his rise to fame as a stand up comic. This enjoyable read felt brief and only really mentioned the movie career in passing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cecilia | 11/16/2013

    " It was great to read about how Steve Martin started. It wasn't as funny as I expected but interesting nonetheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margie | 11/9/2013

    " Interesting. Just not a huge Steve Martin fan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dodde Stark | 11/3/2013

    " Not the book I expected when I picked it up. Very interesting. Victor and I listened to it while driving him back and forth to Appalachian. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jon | 10/12/2013

    " Martin is a footnote in my life, and although this had some interesting moments, it was like listening to a rambling uncle tell a story. Paragraphs didn't tie together very often, and I a lot of the time I dragged myself through the book without much help from the narrative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jinny Chung | 10/3/2013

    " A must for anyone who appreciates comedy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bronwyn | 12/19/2012

    " Steve Martin's reading of this audiobook made the book super enjoyable. I really loved listening to him because it felt like listening to a personal anecdote as opposed to a memoir. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzi | 11/23/2012

    " Quite possibly the best book ever written by a comedian! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron Sadowski | 11/21/2012

    " Audio Book 7-12-08 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joseph | 10/23/2012

    " If you have ever wanted to be a performer you can't ignore this book. go read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melinda | 7/8/2012

    " Read by Steve Martin, a good perspective of his life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 KC Ryan | 4/18/2012

    " Great insight into the inner workings of a comedy legend. I recommend this book for any creative. I want to listen to the audiobook now... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 1/16/2012

    " Easy read and I like Steve Martin so it was interesting to hear how he started in the business. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Punsultant | 1/4/2012

    " I wanted this to be funnier. It's nice to read a comedian's origin story, but I don't recall this being as fun or interesting as it could have been. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracey | 10/9/2011

    " I was surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. Steve Martin wrote poignantly and from the heart and it was not all fun and games. In fact, he is not a wild and crazy guy at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie Ekker | 10/7/2011

    " An interesting peek into Steve Martins life before he became famous and his journey to becoming the actor/comedian that we know today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erik | 9/4/2011

    " Very good book that goes through and recounts Martin's earlier career which is very interesting as he explains that it's like a separate chapter or life altogether. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 andy | 5/13/2011

    " Quite wonderful, if you're interested in comedy or nostalgic Americana. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lenora | 5/9/2011

    " it was okay... no great revelations... just a bio. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wynnae | 5/9/2011

    " This was really interesting. I love Steve Martin so I liked hearing about his life in his own words. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 5/5/2011

    " This book was fascinating to me. I read it on one sitting, on an airplane. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 John | 4/29/2011

    " Don't know why I read this book. Steve Martin was funny, right up to when he made Father of the Bride. Then the ultimate insult - the remake of The Pink Panther. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 4/25/2011

    " Interesting and fast read if you're a fan, though Martin stays pretty close to the surface most of the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 4/23/2011

    " Interesting insight into Steve Martin's early career. It's an engaging book, although I thought there were too many names of people he met on his way up. "

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About the Author
Author Steve Martin

Steve Martin is a legendary writer, actor, and performer. His film credits include Father of the BrideParenthoodThe Spanish Prisoner, and Bringing Down the House, as well as RoxanneL.A. Story, and Bowfinger, for which he also wrote the screenplays. He’s won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for comedy albums. In addition to a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, he has written a bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and a bestselling novella, Shopgirl, which was made into a movie.