When Steve Martin made his first appearance on Saturday Night Live, his dad published a negative review of the performance. Their difficult relationship is one of many personal disclosures that Steve shares in his book, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life.
What first impressed me about the book was the writing. It's concise which is not easy to accomplish considering the time span over three decades. Steve writes about, "someone he used to know." A young boy who grew up to be a successful stand-up comedian.
At age ten, Steve landed what I would have considered a dream job in my youth. He worked at Disneyland selling guidebooks and then performing magic tricks. By age twenty-one, Steve was writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on television. It took 16 performances on The Tonight Show to finally be a hit. What paid off was perseverance and always trying to be better than the last show.
Steve observed others, studied artists like Jack Benny, practiced, practiced, practiced, performed throughout the country and looked for ways to be unique. His idea to drop the punch line and let an audience decide what's funny helped to create a unique style of comedy.
The book captures the time period from the 1950's through 1970's. Since I came of age during these years, it brought back memories to me.
Steve writes with humor and offers personal insights to his life including difficult times. There are also photos scattered among the pages.
This is a great read for those interested in show business or just starting out in any career. He shows that success comes from not only a strong belief in self but also through hard work perfecting what you do best.
Steve was "born standing up," and has brought laughter to all of us.
What's your favorite Steve Martin moment?
Rob's Rating: 5/5
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin. Scribner. Copyright 2007.
FTC: This was the March selection for my library book discussion group. I purchased my copy several years ago and just read for the first time.