I’ve been kind of a casual fan of Steve Martin through the years; I haven’t seen every movie, read every play or heard all of his music. After reading “Conversations with Steve Martin,” however, I feel that I have experienced every facet of his extraordinary talents.
Each interview, although sometimes repeating things from an earlier discussion, gave another perspective into Martin’s agenda for his various careers in show business, the art world, and music.
When most of your memories consist of the “wild and crazy guy,” the fire chief with the big nose in Roxanne, and a very talented banjo player, all of these other things covered in the interviews comes as a pleasant surprise.
It seems to me that his professional life can be easily traced, from the kid doing magic tricks at Disney Land, to an out-of-the-blue chance to write for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and other shows on TV, to becoming one of the all-time successful stand-up comedians, to writing screenplays, to acting in movies, to writing plays, to somehow segueing that into a musical career with his banjo. He is also a respected art collector, another facet of his life, but one more personal than the rest.
Even though there are many interviews in this book, there’s still a feeling of not getting the entire story. Martin is known to be a difficult interview, refusing to include his marriage and divorce with British actress Victoria Tennant and his role as a well-respected art collector.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I almost didn’t get past the Introduction. It felt tedious going through all the Martin quotes with the references in parentheses. I found that format hard to follow. I was anxious to get into the actual interviews instead of reading snippets interspersed with the author’s narrative.