Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

I am so glad that a friend recommended this delightful autobiography about comedian, Steve Martin. Martin is so much more than the comic we see as Inspector Clouseau, or the host of the Oscars or that ‘wild and crazy guy’. He is a complicated , erudite product of his generation and he continues to entertain us in his older years. When you see him in more serious roles in film, you start to realize that there is much more here than just a banjo playing comic.

Born in Waco, Texas in 1945, he and his family moved to Hollywood in 1950 when he was five. He never quite understood why he and his father never really formed a close bond but he knew that his father dreamed of becoming an actor. In California, Martin first started to get the feeling that he somehow was destined to perform before an audience. But he was brighter than we sometimes think of comedians. He got good grades throughout school and college where he studied philosophy and logic…..subjects one doesn’t think of as comic material. He attended 3 different colleges in California because, as he performed more often , he often needed to re-locate.

He taught himself the banjo, and when Disneyland opened in California he worked at the age of 10, selling programs at 25 cents each. He earned 2 cents for every program that he sold. He also was fascinated by magic and tried desperately to learn as many tricks as he could. He seemed to make many friends of older performers as he matured and somehow it seemed natural for him to combine the skills he was acquiring along the way. So it wasn’t too unusual for him to play the banjo, do a couple of tricks and make jokes when he performed on small stages in small clubs.

As he matured , he gained the skills we have seen over the last several decades. Steve Martin is a truly gifted and erudite performer and this book will illustrate how much more there is to his personality. A surprising good read and thanks to my friend who recommended it.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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