Demetri Martin, These Are Jokes

Jay Ruttenberg

By Jay Ruttenberg

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

These Are Jokes

Demetri Martin
A determined post-modernist stand-up averse to cliche, with a bottomless supply of one-liners.

A cerebral comedian from New York City who has gained the cult status normally afforded singer-songwriters with crooked hair, Demetri Martin is like a younger generation's Steven Wright. Whereas that comic had the aura of a hippie philosophy professor, Martin seems the precocious boy wonder with a seemingly bottomless supply of one-liners. He rarely speaks down to his audience — often, Martin places a punch line in advance of a set-up — and is a determined post-modernist averse to cliché. Case in point: Whereas 99 percent of stand-up comedy records begin with an MC introducing the star to hoots and hollers, These Are Jokes starts with Martin's heavily-accented grandmother ("I hope you like this CD he made") and a fuzzy song by Martin himself. "One time I did a show," he sings. "On a stage with a microphone."