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Born Standing Up
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Steve Martin was born in Texas in 1945. Famed for his stand up comedy and performances in hit comedy films, he is also a writer, producer, musician and composer.

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In analyzing the development of his stand-up comedy career, Martin considers to have written a biography of someone he used to know. With a preteen passion of becoming a master magician, he escaped domestic turmoil by working at a magic shop in Disneyland. Once he gained confidence in performing live, his eclectic brand of humor was honed at coffee clubs and in local theater productions. Along the way, Martin studied philosophy, which allowed him to observe comedy as social commentary. Within a few years, he stumbled into television writing, working for the controversial Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He was a regular guest on the Tonight Show, but it was his exposure on Saturday Night Live that catapulted Martin to success. In the early 1980s, he decided to leave stand-up comedy and become the film star we know today. Martin has always taken his life and the art of comedy seriously; his wonderful catchphrases (e.g., "Excuuuuse me"; "I'm a wild and crazy guy") will live on forever in our vocabulary. An intelligent biographical assessment recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/07.]-Richard A. Dickey, Washington, DC Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Martin recounts his tense childhood, his desire to become a magician and his segue into standup comedy in his surprisingly serious and eloquently written memoir. Martin's memories are perceptive and emotionally honest even though he confesses early on that while writing this book, he felt some events in his life "seemed to happen to someone else and I often felt like a curious onlooker." Martin's writing is spare, concise and evocative, and he's a smooth and limber reader, an assured and relaxed, seasoned raconteur. Martin runs through some of his classic comedy routines to give listeners an idea of how they developed into his "anti-comedy" sets (humor without punch lines). "Enjoyment while performing was rare," he reveals. "Enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford." After 18 years of studying, refining and finally succeeding, Martin ends the book when he gives up the solitary standup life in favor of a collaborative life making films. Martin also provides the banjo music that plays between chapters. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (reviewed online). (Nov.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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