Steve Martin: Born Standing Up by Alex Fessler

Long Term

He listened to comedy on the radio.

1948 - 1953

As his family drove around, especially when they moved, they listened to comedy on the radio. This is important because it gave him a background knowledge of comedy.

He worked at Disneyland.

1955 - 1962

He was a guidebook seller, magic shop clerk, and a roper. This is important because he became used to performing in front of people and learned jokes from comedians who performed there.

He acted at the Birdcage Theater.

1962 - 1965

The Birdcage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm was his workplace for a few years. This developed his performing skills.

He performed at the Icebox Theater.

1965 - 1967

He began to develop his sense of humor while performing at the theater. He tested material and got a start in comedy.

He wrote and performed for TV.

1967 - 1973

He wrote and performed for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the Sonny and Cher Show, the Steve Allen Show, and much more. This really helped him understand what people thought was funny and not funny.

He decided to go on the road and perform at nightclubs or larger venues.

1973 - 1981

He started out small, but after his breakthrough he began to perform at stadiums and large venues. In this time period he tested theories in comedy, formed better jokes, and got rid of bad jokes. He eventually became very well-known, and he performed for crowds of large numbers.

Short Term

He was born.


He was born in 1945 in Waco, Texas.

His family moved.


In 1950 his family moved to Hollywood, California.

He studied logic at college.


Inspired by his girlfriend, Stormie, he decided to study logic at Long Beach State College.

He got an opening act job from his TV experience.


He was hired to open for Ann-Margaret, and he met Elvis Presley after the show.

He went on the Tonight Show for the first time.

October 1972

He was given the opportunity to be on the show. This began a series of appearances on the show, and helped him become well-known.

He stopped writing for TV, and he started to go to nightclubs.


After he stopped his writing career, he started going to nightclubs like the Troubador.

He started to be a regular guest host on the Tonight Show.


When Johnny Carson chose him as a guest host, it boosted his reputation and gave him more exposure to viewers of the show.

He made a comedy album.


His manager sealed a deal with Warner Brothers. At first the producers thought his act was too visual, but later they signed the deal.

He had a breakthrough in his comedy routine.

March 1975

He realized that he needed to stop being an opening act and get one. He also started to take his audiences outside and walk them around. This was when he started to become more famous, performed for larger audiences, and made better material.

He went on Saturday Night Live.

October 1976

This began a series of appearances on the show. He also used a bit where he said that he was "a wild and crazy guy."

He released The Jerk.


He released The Jerk which is about him growing up with an African American family. He used some material from his shows, and people loved the movie.

He stopped performing stand up comedy.


After struggles with equipment, audiences, and material, he realized that he needed to stop performing. He then moved on to other things like acting.

His dad died.


His friend told him to solve family problems now because someday his parents might not be there, so he improved his relationship with his dad before his dad died.

He took a visit to the Birdcage.

February 2002

After he lost his mother, he took a trip down memory lane, and he went back to the Birdcage and walked around. He thought about how he had come so far from the little theater where he started.

His mom died.

February 2002

His mother died.