Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Steve Martin, Author . Scribner $25 (209p) ISBN 978-1416553649

Neatly combining his personal and professional worlds, beloved comedian, filmmaker, author, magician and banjoist Martin (Pure Drivel ) chronicles his life as a gifted young comedian in this evocative, heartfelt memoir, which proves less wild and crazy than wise and considerate—though no less funny for it. The typically reticent performer shares rarely disclosed memories of childhood—his father, a failed actor, harbored increasing anger toward his son through the years—and the anxiety attacks that plagued him for some two decades, along with his early success as a television comedy writer, first for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour , and the evolution of his stand-up routine. Sharp insight accompanies stories of his first adult gig (at an empty San Francisco coffeehouse), his pioneering “no punch lines” style (“My goal was to make the audience laugh but leave them unable to describe what it was that had made them laugh”), appearances on programs like The Steve Allen Comedy Hour and breakthrough moments with small, confused audiences. Though the book is vivid and entertaining throughout, Martin doesn't dish any behind-the-scenes dirt from Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show ; rather, he's warm and generous toward everyone in his life, including girlfriends and colleagues. Tellingly, this intimate early career recap ends not with Martin's decision to give up live performance or his first starring role in The Jerk , but with a visit to his parents and Knott's Berry Farm, where he first performed as a teenager. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 12/31/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4165-6974-9
Compact Disc - 4 pages - 978-0-7435-6972-9 - 978-0-7435-6972-9
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4165-5365-6
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-84739-148-3
Hardcover - 243 pages - 978-1-4104-0312-4
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