Demetri Martin has clambered up a few rungs of the comedy ladder, correctly identifying himself as a Standup Comedian rather than just a Person he considered himself to be in his humbly titled 2007 release. He’s back as his usual insouciant, outlandish self and, despite the laid back approach, his satirical cadence rarely loosens its hold.
The set was recorded in April of 2012 at Minneapolis’ Acme Comedy Co., which according to Martin is the bee’s knees for a comedy venue as “the less fire-safe the location, the better.” Martin candidly introduces himself over the loudspeaker: “Ladies and gentlemen, the person coming to the stage is the person talking right now.” It’s a choice opener to prepare us for his droll, just-off-the-nose take on things we’ve all thought about a million times.
Standup Comedian uses simplicity to carry the jokes, rather than his trademark visual gimmickry: the drawing board on an easel. This is Martin stripped down to his bare essentials and nothing is squandered in the process. More than the odd reference to the show being recorded for an audio only reveals how aware of the challenge his is and it is clear that he has taken all his material to the (figurative) drawing board, adeptly creating imaginative, often bizarre, scenarios that allow his dry quips to take you on his journey.
Martin possesses a startling ability to turn everything we take for granted into something more than meets the eye. A fine example is his curiosity with the abundance of silent letters in the English dialect that really confuses foreigners. These quirky yet ultimately accurate observations show just how tuned in he is with the task at hand.
Standup Comedian is an album with one-liners coming fast and furious. In spite of the odd gag falling short, the proceedings spin along at such a break-neck pace that you won’t have time to criticize, let alone remember, the shortcomings.
Essential Tracks: ”Names”, “Yep” and “OK”