Steve Martin’s “Born Standing Up”: Book Review

Poor Ash’s Almanack > Book Reviews > Biographies (Non-Business)

"Born Standing Up" by Steve MartinOverall Rating: ★★ (2/7) (meaningfully flawed)

Learning Potential / Utility: ★ (1/7)

Readability: ★★★★★★★ (7/7)

Challenge Level: 1/5 (None) | 208 pages

Blurb/Description: Described by Amazon as “an illuminating guidebook to stand-up from one of our two or three greatest comedians,” I found Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up to be anything but – an enjoyable read, but devoid of thought-provoking passages or learning opportunities about either comedy or the nuances of the life of a star performer.

Summary: I’ve enjoyed comedy on occasion but have never known exactly what makes it tick, and, of course, wanted to  get better at making people around me laugh.  I hoped based on the billing and Martin’s reputation that this book would help me with that, but no dice.

Highlights: The book is a nice “period piece” and would probably be lovely if you’re a big Steve Martin fan and want to learn more about his childhood and career.

Lowlights: This book was billed very highly by several sources as one that would provide insight into how to be a stand-up comedian… but other than some of the fairly standard bits about perseverance and study, and one or two interesting parts (like one of his one-liners for dealing with hecklers), I found nothing to learn from here.

Additionally, for a guy who had the capacity to be really witty and funny (warning: that’s a very NSFW clip with an explicit sexual reference that may offend some readers), this book wasn’t funny at all other than the occasional quips.

Thinking Points: none, sadly

You should instead read: Stephen Colbert GQ interview, Groucho and Me

Reading Tips: None. Easy to read.


Reread Value: 1/5 (None)

Detailed notes: not available at this time.


Last Read: January 2018

Number of Times Read: 1


Review Date: January 2018