May Goodreads Book Review

Rosedale LibraryStaff Picks

May Goodreads Book Review

'Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life'

Born Standing UpSteve Martin’s memoir, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, covers the comedian’s life from childhood until he left live performance stand-up comedy in 1981. Throughout the book the author sounds humble, despite his fame and massive success over the years.

Over the course of the book, one sees Martin’s evolution from a somewhat humorous struggling magician to an actor and a master of stand-up comedy. Rather than a fond look back at his glory days, Martin spends more time detailing his failures in stand-up than his immense successes. He shows the ways in which he experimented with material over the years and broke down his act completely, finding what worked in comedy, and what did not.  

Martin speaks of his Saturday Night Live days fondly, and shows his genuine interest in comedy and improving his own performances; he states that working with such talented people, like John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, drove him to perfect his own comedy, and made him work even harder.

There are many names dropped in Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up, but the point of the memoir is not to reminisce about the famous collaborators that he’s had, the point is to showcase the craft of comedy and the determination of one comedian to make it as a stand-up. If you are interested in what drives a stand-up comedian or you want to know a little bit about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into developing a comedy act, grab this memoir from your local DC Public Library.