Last week, after reading an article by Steve Martin in Smithsonian Magazine, I sent an email to my friend Farrell:
“I want to be Steve Martin… except for his unhappiness.”
“He is a great writer, too. Be Geoff.”
Nice sentiment. I appreciated it. This is why you have friends.
I went on to write about Martin in the blog, leading regular reader Jim¹ in Truckee, CA to comment:
Thanks for mentioning the Steve Martin article. I’m right in the middle of his latest book, Born Standing Up, A Comics Life. If you liked that article in the Smithsonian, you’ll enjoy the book…
Five minutes later I was on Amazon. The book came yesterday.
I can’t tell you why, but when I came home from work tonight, I sat down and read the book – the whole book. I could not stop.
My friend Howard, a show biz manager, says you should never meet the entertainers you admire. He’s probably right. I’d still like to meet Steve Martin, though I’m probably not capable of carrying it off.
We share nothing in our background. He came from a family with little warmth. My family heated our whole apartment building. He had the chutzpah to perform live. I did my comedy on the radio where I was well hidden.
We’ve learned many of the same lessons.
I find him bright and witty – a Renaissance man in a world filled with people who eschew knowledge or any historical perspective. He followed a complex route to get there. He wasn’t as smart or observant in his twenties as he is now in his (shudder) sixties.
It’s good to see age does have some payoff.
When stand-up was no longer satisfying, he stopped. He was huge. He just stopped.
Steve Martin’s “Born Standing Up is in hard cover.
¹ – It should be noted, there are a bunch of regulars who comment on this blog from time-to-time. Jim in Truckee, for instance.
These are mostly people I don’t know.
I’m not sure why you’re here or what you find so compelling. I am flattered you find what I say interesting enough to come back on a steady basis and I’m always thrilled when you post a comment.
In real life, experience has shown the more you know me, the less scintillating I am.
One thought on “Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up”
i don’t know if we’ve ever discussed this, so it’s been nice to see the comments in your blog post.
i remember seeing him when i was 19.. and he appeared in a teeny theatre near the campus at the university of florida in gainesville.. but what i remember the most came outside the building.. he did one of those ‘let’s go for burgers” things, and marched the whole audience, maybe 100 of us across the street to an in ‘n out.. i forget who bought the grub.
my memory of my sophomore year in college has lots of things now unretrieveable.. and no, it’s not due to drug or alcohol abuse.. i think you just have so many brain cells that remember things, and new stuff crowds out the old. but i will ALWAYS remember that night..
i love steve martin because he is a literate, intelligent, caring man in the middle of an industry of morons. actually, that same description fits you, my dear friend…
martin once wrote in an essay i read (the new yorker? and i assure you i am
paraphrasing here…) that as a writer, his favorite key on the typewriter keyboard was the backspace, so he could do things over. it then morphed into the delete key on a computer keyboard for the same reason. delete is my favorite key, too.