Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book Review: Born Standing Up

A Fair Trade Book



(Amazon has a better picture of this book, but wants to link it to the audio edition.)

Title: Born Standing Up

Author: Steve Martin

Author's web site: http://www.stevemartin.com/

Date: 2007

Publisher: Scribner / Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1-4165-5365-6

Length: 207 pages

Illustrations: black and white photos

Quote: “I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success.”

This is the one of his books (he’s written four more ordinary books and seven plays) in which Martin reminisces about being a stand-up comic, rather than simply writing his jokes in the form of stories or essays. It is, naturally, a very funny book.

“The comedian’s slang for a successful show is ‘I murdered them,’ which I’m sure came about because you finally realize that the audience is capable of murdering you.”

“I had seen knocking knees in animated cartoons but hadn’t believed they afflicted small boys.”

“My father…liked to sing around the house. he emulated Bing Crosby and Dean Martin, and my mother loved it…She was a good piano player and kept encouraging me to sing for her…After the downbeat, what came out of my mouth was an eight-year-old boy’s attempt to imitate his dad’s deep baritone. I plunged my voice down as low as it could go…My mother…collapsed in laughter and could not stop…I was forever after reluctant to sing in public.”

“Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, on a day so sweltering the asphalt on Main Street was as soft as a yoga mat.”

“I was…billed as ‘Steve Martin: Youth and Magic’…The programs appeared from the printer with the perfect prescient typo: ‘Steve Martin: Mouth and Magic.’”


For anyone who remembers the 1970s and wants to laugh about it, Born Standing Up is guaranteed to provoke so many nostalgic giggles that you’ll probably have to explain things to the kids. What more can I say? Well, I laughed more while reading this book than I did while watching some of Martin's movies. 

Additionally, it's a Fair Trade Book. Buy it here, $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment (if you pay cash for a real postal money order, the post office will collect its own surcharge), and we'll send $1 to Martin or a charity of his choice.