I love Steve Martin. He was a significant influence on me as a kid. He had a strange, goofy style wrapped up in a clean white gabardine suit. He was all about the contradiction like that. He was one of the first comedians where I heard curse words that were funny rather than said in anger. Somehow that made them more acceptable.
I’ve just finished his (auto)biography. He doesn’t refer to it as a true autobiography because he perceives his stand-up persona as someone else. Someone he outgrew. The book is all about the growth of his act. The dedication to it. The work. The fears. The highs and the lows. What made him want to be a magician, then a comic, then an actor.
It doesn’t involve his acting and writing career much at all, its focus is on his stand up career. Which, both directly and indirectly, is about his father.
The book is a quick read at 204 not very cluttered pages. It’s funny and nostalgic and made me feel good while it also allowed me to feel Martin’s pain. Especially the final chapters about his parents. The book itself is structured like a good joke. Set up, set up, set up and then the punchline. Except the punchline isn’t funny. It’s poignant and compelling.
Because of this the book is uneven at first read. But knowing the revelations at the end I imagine that a second read will provide greater understanding of Steve Martin the man, as well as the comic.
I highly recommend this book for anybody who has or had a father. Um. That means you.