Steve Martin: Born Standing Up

Steve Martin: Born Standing Up

I remember when I was in sixth grade when my mom picked me up from a Girl Scout's meeting.

“Guess what” she said, in a voice that conveyed I wasn't going to be able to guess what, “your dad said you can stay up late to watch the Steve Martin special..”We were a farm family, so staying up late, because it interfered with getting up early, was basically unheard of. We only usually broke our bedtime rule for New Year's Eve, when we would stay up late and eat bean soup and watch the ball drop in Times Square. Steven Martin, I reasoned, must be a very big deal.

I realize now that my dad wanted us to stay up late to watch Steve Martin because he wanted someone else to enjoy it with. Since my mom wasn't interested, the youngest of his kids seemed the next best thing.

We all sat mesmerized as the man in the white suit strode on stage. Yeah he was being goofy, but this was something different, something more than goofy. Steven Martin's recent autobiography Born Standing Up, reveals some interesting things about the man who wasn't afraid to put an an arrow through slash over his head on stage. And it's very refreshing as celebrity memoirs go, because it isn't full of name dropping or worse yet, defenses for indefensible behavior.

The book will be of interest to Steve Martin fans but it will be of even more interest to comics who have built their career on hopes of rising to his level of fame. The era of comics filling stadiums is probably over, at least for now, but Martin's advice “it was easy to be great. The real trick is to be good night after night” still seems very true.