I got Steve Martin’s new book Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life for Christmas and plowed through it in 2 days. It is a good quick read about Steve Martin’s early life and standup career. The most interesting part for me was hearing about how hard he worked at developing his craft. He did a routine 4 times a day, 5 days a week while also attending college. He is a very smart guy and spent every waking minute from age 18-30 working on his material and trying to get better. While doing this, he became known in the industry and used those connections to eventually “make it.” Performing on stage (magic and comedy) was a passion for him and he consumed it wholeheartedly. It’s no wonder he became successful. It’s the same with any profession. If you live it and breathe it and work intelligently on it, you’ll be successful and this book is just another example of that.
I never knew Steve Martin during his standup days, but apparently he was incredibly popular – selling out arenas of 40,000 people at his peak. I was exposed to him only after he had moved on to movies (The Jerk, Father of the Bride, etc.). Towards the end of his standup career, he described how the success was bittersweet, isolating and resulted a less enjoyable life. It’s too bad that this is often the case for the uber-famous. It sounds exhausting. For better or worse, i’ll never have this problem but i can certainly sympathize with him as it does sound like a big pain in the ass. He does write, “Many celebrities are ridiculed for wanted fame only when it is convenient for them and not any other time. This is absolutely true.”
It’s a good book and recommend it to anyone who likes Steve Martin or standup.