Born Standing Up by Steve Martin: Book Review

May 18, 2022

Born Standing Up: A Comic's LifeBorn Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steve Martin comes across as a sophisticated, but goofy guy who just happens to be a genius at comedy. But in reading his memoir about the years leading up to and during his stand-up comedy career, I found that’s not the way he sees himself.

Martin comes from a humble middle-class, mid-twentieth-century American family. He got his first job at Disneyland when he was only 10 years old, and he rode his bicycle to and from work every day. While he was obsessed with show business from a young age, performing didn’t really come naturally to him. He worked hard for the comedic bits that were to later make him famous. Here, he recounts his life while sharing the inspiration for some of his most famous gags.

As his album title, Comedy Isn’t Pretty, asserts, his astronomical career success was due to a mixture of luck, hard work, and deep thought. The timing he’s so celebrated for was developed by study and laser focus.

If you’re thinking of reading this book for non-stop laughter, you’d be better off buying one of his albums or watching his old SNL skits or movies. This book is about his actual experiences growing up and building his stand-up career, and he covers both the good and the bad.

While the book is a quick and easy read, Martin muses on what life is really all about in the end. He ultimately seems to find life is about relationships and integrity. I’m a bigger fan of his for having read it.

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