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Steve Martin On Being 'Born Standing Up'

A comic's life: Steve Martin's long list of credits includes the films <em>The Jerk</em>, <em>Father of the Bride</em> and <em>Planes, Trains and Automobiles</em> as well as the books <em>Shopgirl</em> and <em>Cruel Shoes</em>.
A comic's life: Steve Martin's long list of credits includes the films <em>The Jerk</em>, <em>Father of the Bride</em> and <em>Planes, Trains and Automobiles</em> as well as the books <em>Shopgirl</em> and <em>Cruel Shoes</em>.

Steve Martin went from performing in an empty San Francisco coffee house to hosting the Oscars. In between, he spent 18 years as a stand-up comic — four of them, by his account, successful years.

In his memoir Born Standing Up, Martin chronicles those stand-up years, the childhood (including a brief career at Disneyland) that came before them, and the perils and pleasures of celebrity.

And he talks about why, at the height of his stand-up fame, he put that life behind him to take up acting and writing. He calls the book not an autobiography, but a biography of a guy he used to know.

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