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