Arts & Entertainment

Steve's Journey

Steve Martin

Lesson time 10:29 min

Learn how Steve's love of performing took him from a childhood magic act to selling out arenas. And how he has now, finally, learned to relax.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Falling in Love With Performing • Developing as a Performer • Experiencing Success • Learning to Relax


Nothing in my house as a child contributed to my comedy. I talked about listening in the car radio as we'd make family trips, but that was silent. I'm listening and just loving these great performers. But my house was not an artistic household at all. I got lucky. In one, I developed an interest in comedy, magic, and performing. Great thing about magic is you could buy a trick, and then it had instructions, and it had patter. Patter means talking. And you'd say, the great Egyptian god Foo, and you had your whole act kind of defined for you. You didn't have to think too much. And you could be on stage, well, on stage, I mean you know doing your performance at your parents bridge party. And so I had collected this. And also I had heard about performers and they had a funny joke, and I thought, oh-- I didn't realize jokes were property. And there was a great comedy magician named Carl Ballantine who had a fantastic joke where he said, and now the appearing dove. Then he would blow up a paper sack. The appearing dove, and he'd go like this, then you would just get feathers. So I thought, well, of course I can use that. And so I had an act. And I had actually thought up a couple of jokes on my own. I had the disappearing candle. And it was a candle like this. And I would put a silk over it and then I would hold it up, and then I would go like this and the candle was gone. And then I would do this, thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. And it would get a laugh, because my arm is sticking out. And I had a few little jokes. I remember I was in high school, and I was a cheerleader in high school because I injured myself. I really wanted to play football. So glad I didn't. But I ended up being a cheerleader. And the reason I wanted to be a cheerleader, I thought, that's show business. Standing up there in front of those people. I'm in show business. [MUSIC PLAYING] As I got into college, I met people who were inspirational to me. I got into a philosophy class. So I started thinking about-- philosophy is about the willingness to think about anything, and break it down, and find out if it's true or false. And I started thinking that way. And I thought, what if I applied that to comedy? You know I'm just a kid in my teens. But it helped me get excited about it. And it helped me find something new about it. Even if I'm making it up. Even if it's incorrect. I thought gee, I don't see a future in me doing a magic act. But I did notice something. I said I've got to just kind of slip into a little more comedy material. And I thought, you know what, they love it when the tricks don't work. So I started edging into like from a serious magician into it's kind of funny when the tricks don't work. Then I started thinking maybe I could just do a little bit of just regular come...

About the Instructor

One of Steve’s first gigs was at the drive-in movies. When the audience liked a joke, they honked. In this comedy class, Steve shares insights from performing for cars and humans over a 50-year career spanning sold-out arenas and blockbuster films. Learn how to find your voice, gather material, develop an act, and take your comedy writing to the next level.

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Steve Martin

Steve Martin teaches you everything from finding your comedic voice to nailing your act.

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