The Emmy and Grammy Award–winner’s candid, spectacularly amusing memoir of his years in stand-up. Nominated for the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album!
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Born Standing Up is an enchanting showbiz memoir, especially when you hear it read aloud by Steve Martin himself. Instead of hurtling through his impressive resume, Martin dials in on his 18 years as a stand-up comic. This focus results in amazing insights into his process of getting good, getting great, and finally getting sick of the grind of touring. Side trips include how the funnyman fell in love with modern art and recollections of his friendship with blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. It’s all fascinating stuff—and we can really hear the wisdom of Martin’s experiences in his iconic voice.