Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin

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I bought this book Christmas Day, as my first Kindle-only content (as an aside, it’s wonderful to be able to think to yourself “I’d really like to read X”, press a button or two, and have the book delivered to you). Took me just a day to read it — it’s a short book, but also a fun one. It doesn’t cover the period of Martin’s life that’s most familiar to me (and folks my age, I presume) — it goes from his childhood through the late 70s when he finished doing his standup and focused on movies instead. I guess it’s easy to dismiss Martin today as a little past his power years, but this book reminded me of so much that I love about his comedy, and so much of what he did that had tremendous, broad impact (aside from making The Jerk, one of the best movies of all time). One of the things that’s great about the book is that it goes through his early years that he spent in Southern California — getting a magic set, working at Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland — trying lots and lots of material and keeping track of what worked and didn’t. He’s clearly an intellectual, hard-working comedian, and blazed new trails in absurdist comedy. We also caught his honoring at Lincoln Center a couple of weeks ago — the clips of his stand up days and time hosting SNL are still completely drop-down funny.

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