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Demetri Martin woos audiences with his brainy comedy

click to enlarge No, Demetri Martin isnt struggling with a nonverbal - learning disability. Hes just messing around. Really.
  • No, Demetri Martin isnt struggling with a nonverbal learning disability. Hes just messing around. Really.

On amazon.com, a grumpy fan recently questioned comedian Demetri Martin's direction. He admitted that Martin's comedy album, These Are Jokes, is good, but argued that Martin is getting emo on his fans.

"... lately Demetri has become too soft everything about him the way he looks, speaks, dresses and of course, his humor seems to be targeted at young women ... He should try to include some more "guys'-humor."

Martin, hanging out before a show in Chicago, is nothing if not amused. On stage, he's quiet and thoughtful, tossing out smartypants one-liners like a Shriner throwing candy to parade-goers. He isn't inflammatory, and doesn't toss himself about the stage like Dane Cook. C'mon, the guy often uses overhead projectors in his act!

When it's suggested he might have to rethink his soft-guy image starting with the tousled hair and sweater-slash-button-up shirt combos he leaps way ahead, committing himself to wearing nothing but leather from here on out.

"I think that's hilarious," he says. "I'm not an edgy comic. I'm a fucking dork."

As for targeting women, Martin admits to being clueless: "I like women, for sure! Hey, whatever it takes! But come on, I don't know how to tailor things, make myself appear a certain way. That's not an easy thing to do. I'm just trying to come up with jokes. Ones that are funny to other people, other than just me."

Born to a Greek Orthodox priest and a nutritionist who co-owned a diner in New Jersey, Martin spent his youth pursuing activities like skateboarding, unicycling, juggling and working up palindromes. You know, stuff all kids do.

After attending college at Yale, he went on to study at the New York University School of Law on a full scholarship. During his second year at school, he saw a new Comedy Central program called "The Daily Show." He requested tickets to a taping, and while he was at it, scored a gig as an intern on the show.

"I was their only law-school intern, I think, in the history of the show," says Martin. "I was doing a lot of extracurricular activities while I was at school I was treating law school a lot like high school."

After finishing his second year at school, Martin decided to completely upend his career path and pursue a career in comedy. A life of touring, late nights and fending off hecklers didn't necessarily sit well with his parents, but it paid off: Beyond being a proud owner of the new CD, he is the official Trendspotter on "The Daily Show."

He's working on writing screenplays, has a book of drawings coming out, and has won awards for comedy in Edinburgh, Melbourne and Aspen. Not bad for a guy who has been known to say things like, "Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies."

Giving little regard to his "image" and what anyone's expectations are of his personal life or work, Martin is focusing on simply becoming very good at what he does. He quotes some advice he once received from fellow

comedian A. Whitney Brown: "Always tip the audience. Give 'em what they paid for, but then a little more. Give 'em something extra."

"It's such a simple idea," Martin says, "but it's really good advice."

He pauses.

"Actually, it's what we do at my family's diner, too. Give them fair prices and good food, and people will come back."

Capsule

Demetri Martin

Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder

Thursday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $29.75, all ages; visit ticketmaster.com.

  • Demetri Martin woos audiences with his brainy comedy

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