An Honest Look at a Clown

I have just finished reading Born Standing Up (A Comic’s Life) by Steve Martin.  Yep, that’s the same Steve Martin of an-arrow-through-the-head and The Jerk fame.  I really expected this to be a funny book.  I am pleased to report that, aside from the occasional quip or reference to an old bit, it is a serious look at the rise and turbulence of his comedic life.

In fact about two-thirds of the book is driven by a sadness that settles in like the universal background radiation.  You know it’s there, you can sense it, it’s mostly harmless, and it brings information about the past.

I suppose it’s important to mention that I was enjoying Martin’s comedy as it was happening, during what he describes as his funniest period (say, from 1977-1979).  So I was rather in the thick of it, at least as a consumer.  I remember my neighbor and my childhood best-friend Corey Cartwright would put on his parents’ Steve Martin albums much to our young delights.  But this period only accounts for perhaps a third of the book.

He sets up his early life through the first half.  This gives the reader a clear and intimate picture of him as a person, as well as offering a vivid account of the path by which he came to comedy and rose into the clouds.

I thoroughly enjoyed the reading of this biographical work.  I recommend it highly and I thank my brother for the gift of this book.

Go make someone laugh, kids.  We’ll make the world a better place.

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