STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 60 Minutes

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Commentary
  • Comedy Central Presents
  • Tiny Poster
  • Extra Footage

The Pitch

A Comedy Central DVD release of the stand-up from one of the more laid back and solid young comedians working today.

The Humans

Demetri Martin & friends.

The Nutshell

I consider myself a good judge of comedians, even with my endorsement of Dane Cook back in the day. I defend liking his stand-up work back before he exploded into a terror ball. I always feel the need to mention that because hindsight being what it is, I’d probably have just kept my damn mouth shut. Cook’s energy and rapport with the stage is astounding, but I must admit that even his good older stuff is difficult to listen to in the wake of his post-Tourgasm career. Well, there’s always the wonderful Louis C.K for my itchy asshole jokes…

From Carlin [still the best] to Foxx to Pryor to Klein to Murphy to Johanssen to Wright to Miller to Hedberg to Stanhope, there’s so many great stand-ups to pick from and even some of the ones who get bashed are prone to moments of greatness. I listen to pretty much only a handful of stations on my XM radio, the bulk of which being channel 175 (MLB Home Plate) and 150 (Extreme Comedy), and I get to hear the gamut of the comedian world. My God there are some horrible comedians out there, and way too many female stand-ups with the same exact shtick. Through there I discovered these truths:

  • Though he may be a redneck comedian, Ron White can be absolutely great.

  • I used to hate Dave Attell but his delivery style grew on me big time when listened to amidst a series of totally shitty comedians.

  • Ted Allesandro is pretty fun. So is Jim Gaffigan. So is Mike Birbiglia. They aren’t legends, but they’re fun.

  • Nobody’s got what Doug Stanhope has. He’s Bill Hicks but with a voice that doesn’t make you want to eat at Cracker Barrel, though he’s not as cerebral.

  • Mitch Hedberg’s death paved the way for a lot of comedians with material that feels like it comes from a similar place, much more down to Earth and warm and…

Of all the comedians in that category, only Demetri Martin brings serious skills to the table.

That’s an awful lot of buildup isn’t it? That said, Demitri Martin is one of the more natural and genuine comedians out there right now and partially due to the artwork and meloncholy music that peppers his act and partially because of the timeless innocence to his performance he seems almost more like a soulmate to Wes Anderson than to Hedberg. He tells very short jokes built around everyday things instead of long-winded contrivances. He tells jokes while flipping to pages on a giant notebook to accentuate the jokes. He plays instruments, sometimes a few at a time, all the while telling jokes. It’s a really naturalistic and warm way to receive comedy and the fact he has his mother, grandmother, sister, and uncles involved in the show it’s really hard not to love the guy. Even though he’s Greek…

The Lowdown

Almost everything about Martin’s show is created by him from the music to the art to the teleprompter add-ons. Every once in a while a little bit of additional fun is added, like when a member of the crowd looks bored the text "unimpressed" appears over him. It’s a fun addition to the show and though Martin’s humor is good enough to survive the extra A/V it doesn’t feel like pandering or masking subpar stuff with gimmicks. I do see how it could be interpreted as a gimmick, however.

The thing I hated about stand-up in the wake of Sam Kinison’s Wild Thing music video and single was that a lot of acts began to add songs. Andrew "Dice" Clay, Denis Leary, and to the most annoying effect… Adam Sandler and his godforsaken Hannukah song. Granted, Steve Martin did it amazingly in his day but have you heard that guy play a banjo? How do you not make songs with that skill? Demetri Martin’s musical interludes are basically him playing instruments while telling jokes and he does a really solid job of allowing the two to feed each other.

Why? Probably because he’s done it so well as a member of The Daily Show and through his contributions to the Conan O’Brien Show. Nowadays the most prime and beloved talents don’t just surface from SNL, and Martin’s odd and deadpan style (yeah, more Steven Wright than Mitch Hedberg in retrospect) definitely comes from a place that isn’t of the "me too" variety. It makes sense why he’d have a hand in those beloved comedy cornerstones of today. The centerpiece of this DVD is an hour special which features Demetri’s stuff in different formats as well as some little animations to pad the scenes and I’d say that you’ll know whether his style suits you after five minutes or so. If you like a more relaxed style less geared around sex jokes and typical relationship humor and more centered around random everyday things, I have a feeling this will be something you introduce to a lot of people.

I don’t think his stuff will result in side-splitting
laughs but there aren’t many jokes which don’t at least succeed as
something worth appreciating and as far as comedians go he is a nice counterbalance to aggressive and controversial talents and the ones who simply annoy until you either laugh or tune out.

Demetri Martin is real and funny. Sometimes it’s a cute kind of funny, which may turn off some folks, but it’s always funny. Person is a really solid comedy DVD and with Doug Stanhope’s No Refunds and Louis CK’s Shameless in release we are really in the thick of a special era in comedy.

The Package

There are a lot of features to be had to, all indicated by fun handwritten menus from the comedian and peppered with his artwork. Some of the features are almost too short to be of much value (the deleted scenes for one), but some enforce the overall qualities that make him a comedian deserving of his own CD, hour special, and DVD. The commentary track, though not informative, is a fun little hang out session between Demetri and his family. They poke fun at each other and have what sounds like a typical dinner conversation instead of some sort of promotional or educational commentary we normally get. There’s a few animations, little snips from his earlier shows, and the Comedy Central special which was featured as disc two for Demetri’s CD These Are Jokes. All told, it’s nice to see that the guy went above and beyond in making sure that his DVD wasn’t just a quick cash n’ grab port of the comedy show.

7.5 out of 10