Demetri Martin at the Barrymore



Demetri Martin wore khakis, a brown sweater, and brown shoes onto the stage. All so plain, they almost seemed to not be there at all, like some sort of an awkward middle-class exoskeleton. Understated, unassuming, and (again, I can’t use this phrase enough for him) slightly awkward. The exoskeleton suits Martin perfectly. His stage presence is that of the hilarious kid in your high school class who everyone wished would come out of his shell and talk more. His plays on words and attack of commonplace conventions, but wholly unique sensibilities, make you think of him as an Adult Swim Jerry Seinfeld.


Demetri Martin opened the show with some crowd work. He opened with “How’s Wisconsin doing?”, clearly not expecting much of a response. Someone yelled back “The governor sucks!” and the crowd broke into applause. A beat later, Martin retorted with a “Yeah…You know your Governor is shitty when people from other places know about it…Like we’re all standing from the outside going ‘what’s this asshole doing’?”. For the famously non-political Martin, this basically equates to a Bill Hicks rant against the establishment. The rest of the show is his usually style though.


A premise, a punch line, and an explosion of laughter. Rinse and repeat. Jokes don’t particularly build on each other. There’s no particular order to the jokes it seems, you almost wonder if he’s checking them off a mental list throughout the set. There’s no narrative. You don’t feel like you’ve particularly learned anything after. This is Demetri Martin, and he tells jokes – really funny ones. His one-hit, boom-boom-boom style hits you over the head again and again with his wit, and he bobs out of the bits that don’t work as quickly and as masterfully as a boxer. Is seeing Martin a transcendent, bucket list-worthy, can’t-leave-your-seat experience the way seeing a Dave Chappelle is? Not really. But he is absolutely one of the funniest professionals out there, and worth seeing for any fan of comedy. Highly recommended.