I have always been a fan of Steve Martin, even when I was a kid. Maybe it was because he became such a sensation just as I was becoming aware of pop culture. His sense of humor resonates with me. All comedy relies on identifying things that are “wrong” in surprising ways, but unlike the type of comedy that identifies the wrongs of society, Martin tends to stick to fundamentals. His style is to present material that’s wrong on simple logical terms.
I received a copy of Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life as a Christmas present and read it straight through that day. As is typical of Martin’s writing style, it is light and approachable. It isn’t heavy on details, but instead has an introspective style. I can imagine the same subject covered by a fan would detail every appearance, every album, every movie. I’ve read several books in that style that were interesting but left out the emotions and motivations. I appreciated how Martin discusses his struggle with panic attacks and his strained relationship with his father.
One detail that stood out for me is Martin’s love of the Somerset Maugham novel The Razor’s Edge. I really enjoyed that novel when I discovered it in college. I even like Bill Murray’s movie version. So, his mention of it made another point of validation for my admiration of Martin’s work.