Doing 5 minutes of stand-up comedy is on my life’s bucket list. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than standing in front of a crowd of people that are watching and waiting for you to make them laugh.
I don’t know what I’d say. I don’t have any jokes!
With stand-up, it doesn’t matter who you are, who you know, or what your net worth is—if you tell a joke that doesn’t work, it’s painful. Painful for you and the audience. I get so uncomfortable watching a stand-up bomb that imagining being the one stage makes me sick to my stomach.
Steve Martin wasn’t actually born standing up, but he did dedicate 30 years of his life to perfecting the art of telling jokes on stage. 10 years of learning, another 10 years of floundering in tiny clubs, and finally, 10 years of growing success.
By 1978 Steve Martin had become the biggest concert draw in stand-up comedy history. By 1981 he walked away from stand-up altogether. His life’s work! He reached the top, looked around, and decided he was ready for something new.
His memoir, Born Standing Up, is a story of perseverance and tenacity. Here are some lessons from the wild and craaazzy guy: