Steve Martin Was BORN STANDING UP

Dear Reader,

Now that Steve Martin’s starring in a new Pink Panther movie and releasing his first bluegrass CD, I figure I might as well add to the hoopla by reviewing his book Born Standing Up (2008)–the title is enough to make me nod “Oh yeah.”

Martin’s book includes neither punch lines nor one-liners, but, rather, “earnesties.” Their puppy-dog openness charms you into moving in closer, and then when you’re real close, they pounce and startle you, and then they  give you sloppy tongue swipe to say, “Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?”

Here’s an example: “I have heard it said that a complicated childhood can lead to a life in the arts. I tell this story of my father and me to let you know I am qualified to be a comedian.”

And another: “At the print shop I learned my first life lesson. One day I was particularly gloomy, and Jim asked me what the matter was. I told him my high school girlfriend (for all of two weeks) had broken up with me. He said, `Oh, that’ll happen a lot.’ The knowledge that this horrid grief was simply a part of life’s routine cheered me up almost immediately.”

Who will enjoy this book? Writers, actors, dancers, comics, and others in the arts. They’ll enjoy Martin’s account of the different thought processes that went went into his routines. (Yes, successful comedy requires intelligence.) Other Martin fans will enjoy a taste of his life, but if they’re expect a full meal, as in a multi-course memoir, they’ll close the book hungry: it’s about what influenced his comedy.

Note: Born Standing Up features some great photos. Can you picture Martin wearing long hair, a beard, and turquoise jewelry? I can… now.

Note Note: To learn about the somber quiet side of Steve Martin, read his novella Shop Girl.

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1 Response to “Steve Martin Was BORN STANDING UP”


  1. 1 kristakae 02/17/2009 at 3:35 pm

    I don’t usually read memoir-type books, as you know. However, I loved Shopgirl and after reading this review, I probably will read it after all! Thanks!


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