What a strange and interesting little book this is. I had Steve Martin’s albums when I was a kid and could quote his movies on command but I’d never read any of his books. Well, except Cruel Shoes back in the day. And a few of his funny New Yorker bits. So the strange thing about this book is how not strange it is. It’s a pretty direct narrative of his stand up years and some of his childhood leading up to those years. It ends after The Jerk, his first hit film and his transition into film and writing.
He’s serious here and his tone is meditative and studied. He’s obviously a private person but somehow felt the need to connect these things and take a closer look at them through his writing. And what an interesting time he had! He went out with Dalton Trumbo’s daughter and spend many evening at their dinner table soaking up humor, wisdom and an appreciation for art. He helped a college buddy interview Aaron Copeland! He started out professionally writing for The Smothers Brothers, Sonny and Cher and the like. He was writing partners with Bob “Super Dave” Einstein and Rob Reiner (before he went on to do those great movies with Carl Reiner). Who knew? I sure didn’t.
I’m bummed that we have an after school event this month on the night my Guy’s Book Club will be happily discussing this later this month. It’s sure to be a lively conversation. We all loved Patti Smith’s Just Kids last year and this has a similar feel of thoughtful writing and a budding artist’s yearning for success along with the ways the artists finds to deal with the success.
Listening to the audiobook was great. He sang the songs and did his banjo playing between chapters. Now I want to go back and watch the Best of Steve Martin SNL collection…