|From The Publisher:|
In the midseventies, 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. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away."
Emmy and Grammy Award winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been awriter. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.
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. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes.
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.
Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.
In this fiercely intelligent and strangely detached memoir--a portrait of the comic as a young man--Steve Martin describes the formation of his unconventional comic style, and reveals that for all his apparent zaniness, he approached his craft with the thoughtful precision of a mathematician. Martin's sharp analysis of his own psychology is particularly interesting, especially in his revelations about his father, a cold, brutal, silent man who wrote a disparaging review of his son's first SNL appearance. As a boy, Martin found solace and relief from his icy family life by devoting himself to comedy, meticulously honing the art of laughter, though he remained emotionally withdrawn. Even in the midst of his madcap Dadaist performance, his brain, he tells us, viewed everything from a distance, taking notes in a nearly clinical fashion on his actions and the audience's reactions. His look back at his early days provides unusual insights about Steve Martin as a human being and a comic, and about the nature of comedy itself.
Steve Martin ROCKS!12/1/2007
This was a terrific book! Highly recommend it to anyone who loves Martin. The guy is hysterically funny and a truly nice man, which is rare these days. Martin has a great way of sharing his life stories with humor, so much so that you find yourself laughing out loud. I wasn't a fan of Martin when he first started doing stand up comedy because his humor was rather silly. As he's aged, his comedy has matured and now I absolutely love his movies and his books, of which I own many. Great book to read on a rainy weekend.