What’s it about? In Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, actor/comedian/writer/art collector/banjo picker/magician Steve Martin recalls his journey from aspiring young magician to superstar comedian (he was the first comedian to sell out 45,000 seat venues). Steve is someone who worked and worked to get to where he is, and much of this book details his slog through the trenches of stand-up comedy. As Steve says, “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 success included legendary appearances on Saturday Night Live, two platinum comedy albums, and ubiquitous catch-phrases (Well, excuuuuusee me!).
Is the narrator any good? Steve Martin does a good job narrating his own work. The fact that it’s Steve telling the story of his stand-up career means this audio book has a very warm quality. Also, it’s a pleasure to hear Steve deliver various jokes he has made over the years.
The verdict? Born Standing Up starts off somewhat slowly, but it takes off when Steve starts to recount the early days of his career making the transition from magician with a few funny bits to a full-blown stand-up comic. The audio book is both an insightful portrait of a creative artist and a historical account of the rise of stand-up comedy, so you don’t necessarily have to be a Steve Martin fan to enjoy it (in fact I knew very little about Steve Martin before I downloaded it). At just over 4 hours it’s a little bit short for my liking (I usually like to get as much value for my Audible credits as possible), but if this isn’t an issue for you I recommend you give this audio book a listen.