Back when SNL was really starting to kick it, and people listened to comedy albums, Steve Martin came onto the national scene. I’ve always found him to be incredibly funny, in a wacky way. Some of my favorite SNL characters are the “Two Wild & Crazy Guys.” See the video up top.
Martin is pretty blunt in his book. He makes some good jokes, but he is very up front about the dysfunctional home in which he grew up. He also accounted in detail the many hours of practice he had to do in order to be a stand-up comic.
Martin started performing at a very young age. He loved magic tricks, and so, as a pre-teen, got a job at Disneyland in their magic shop. He spent his days doing magic tricks to entice tourists to buy magic trinkets. When he started doing comedy, he was performing up to five times a day in front audiences that sometimes numbered just three or four.
But, hey, he figured. It was a great way to practice and work on his material.
All this reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Rule. Mastery comes from a lot of practice. Martin said that by the time he received a “big break” to perform on TV, he knew he would be fine. He had practiced enough.
It’s a fun book. There is no shortcut to success.