I have a long relationship with Stand Up comedians beginning the early 80s. My dad worked the swing shift when I was a kid. As I was a parent’s worse nightmare, a small child with frequent bouts of insomnia, my dad and I got to spend a lot of time with each other while the rest of the house was sleeping. We would watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and my favorite comedian was always Steve Martin. I didn’t get the subversiveness of his humor, but a goofball wearing a arrow through his head is always going to make a six year old laugh.
This book is almost exclusively Steve Martin talking about his career. How some of his most famous bits were developed, what comedy shows he played in and the breaks that he lucked into or earned. It’s quite a talent to write an entire book about your early life and career and yet somehow manage to maintain your privacy. Despite the lack of juicy gossip, I really enjoyed hearing about what it feels like to bomb onstage and then later what it felt like when he became the most famous comedian in America.
Steve Martin is the original hipster. He dressed very conservatively and his comedy was always very clean and approachable, but he incorporated brilliant bits of performance art that stemmed from his start as a 16 year old magician at Disneyland.
I can’t really recommend this book to everyone. You have to be super nerdy about comedy or curious about what Martin’s experiences as someone who started out failing at his dream career, became so famous that is was a burden, finally settling into a creative life. But if that’s your jam, then this book is totally awesome.