Steve Martin has a new, excellent, 207 page book out in stores this month, titled Born Standing Up. Anybody interested in stand-up comedy should read Martin’s story. He recalls his early jobs as a teenager and young man, and later as a hugely popular comedian touring the country in 1970s, playing venues filled with thousands of people. The banjo, the arrow-through-the-head gag, the white suit – he describes the evolution of this act, from the beginnings as a kid with a talent for magic tricks and goofiness, to a young, educated man twisting general perceptions of stand-up comedy with his absurd actions, oddball humor and hard work.
He mentions very little of his movie career, except when related to some of his material in his stand-up act, so we are spared of stories about life on the set of Cheaper By The Dozen. Instead, he gives us a focused account of one of the hottest comedy acts of the 20th century – his own.
Most comedians can and do package their jokes into book form and slap a $20 price on it and watch it climb the bestseller lists. Those are sorta funny, I’m-on-an-airplane reads. But, only a few jokers actually take the time to asses their stand-up act, themselves and stand-up comedy. I think this is only because a few have the stand-up comedy career worth studying, like Steve Martin.
Here’s Martin performing his Fun Balloon Animals piece:
One thought on “Steve Martin – Born Standing Up”
The other thing that’s amazing about Steve Martin’s material is that he could do it today and it would still be just as funny. The whole Let’s Get Small album could be done today, I think, and it would still be funny. The jokes about S&M and landing the station wagon at the airport – would totally work today.
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