Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cosy Comic: Born Standing Up

: Born Standing Up: A Comic's LifeSteve Martin became famous as a "wild and crazy guy."  I remember laughing hysterically to his shows on TV, and he's probably the only comedian I've heard on a record (we weren't a bit record-buying family).  His later moves into movies also include more sensitive and nuanced performances, so finding that his memoir of his youth and beginnings as a stand-up comic, Born Standing Up, shows a gentle and perceptive view of his younger self doesn't surprise me much.

Martin can look back at his memories as a child or teenager and see both his perceptions at the time and also the likely views the adults around him had at the time, often giving him a chance to pay belated thanks to people who supported him without demanding gratitude or understanding.  He forgives himself for immaturity even while gently letting the reader and himself laugh at some of his mistakes, especially the fashion decisions during his early stand-up days.  He's also still interested in his comedy as art, tracing how he worked at his material even when it seemed most spontaneous.  Because he takes it seriously, the reader does too, so that even the end of the story makes sense.  At the height of his success, Martin begins to find his work stale, since many of the things that gave it life aren't possible in front of the crowds he gathers.

I'll keep looking for more of Martin's writing; I've enjoyed several of his fiction works but his nonfiction interests me more.

1 comment:

kmitcham said...

I should look into that. Mr Martin is cool.