Born Standing Up

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Narrated by Steve Martin

I know this is probably incredible for a person who, like, reads all the time and writes stupid book reviews, but I think this was the first biography I’ve ever read! I just…don’t really care about the lives of famous people. So there it is. But this one was relatively interesting and very short. If you’re looking for a good starter biography, you might want to check this one out.

Story: Steve Martin reflects on his years (and years and years) trying to make it as a stand-up comedian. Martin details all the hard work, all the failures, all the practice, all the mean reviews—and then all the humongous success. This isn’t the story of Martin’s whole life, just his childhood and his years doing stand-up. His life in the 80s and beyond remains a mystery.

Writing: I know what you’re thinking—this book is going to be hilarious! Well, you’d be wrong. This isn’t a book of comedy; it’s a book about comedy, and the life of a person who’s famous for it. Martin is certainly a competent writer and a smart dude, but if you’re looking for knee-slappers, this is not the book for you.

Themes: Damn, it’s hard trying to make it as an artist. And when you actually do, it’s overrated.

Best thing about it: It’s always good to remember that even the most famous among us had to work their tails off for decades to get where they are. And it’s good to remember that success is a mixed bag.

I really enjoyed hearing about Martin’s adventures in California, since I know the places. And, as weird as this sounds, I was able to confirm that my husband’s pronunciation of Knotts Berry Farm is probably right, since Martin says it the same way.

Worst thing about it: Because the book is driven by an actual life, it can lack shape; there are times it feels like just a list of places and people. And, well, it would have been better if it were funny.

Audiobook insights: Definitely get the audiobook. It’s cool to hear a book narrated by a voice you know and a person you can picture. And it takes the edge off some of the boring parts.

Final thoughts: This has nothing to do with my book review, but my husband thinks he performed the same night as pre-fame Martin at a Pasadena comedy club back in the 70s. Pretty cool, no?

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