Demetri Martin speaks conversationally in the same way he delivers his act on stage. His voice is calm and low, but sincere in such a way that makes it impossible to not like the extremely popular stand-up comic.
Monday in a phone interview Martin earnestly admitted that comedy can be a humbling creative process.
“You need an audience to help you figure out what’s working and what’s worth putting on your album or your special— or even just what’s worth touring with,” said Martin.
There are further difficulties of trying new material on audiences in light of recent events with comics like Daniel Tosh and Dane Cook getting attacked on Twitter or YouTube for jokes that could be construed as offensive.
Thankfully, Martin has been able to avoid controversy.
The comic agrees that most of his jokes avoid the stigma of being lewd. He admits this is mostly because of audience demand.
“When I do dirty jokes I don’t really get a good reaction. People look at me like ‘Woah—we don’t want that from you! What are you doing?” One of my favorite quotes from Woody Allen is ‘The audience teaches you how you’re funny.’ If you do enough shows, that does happen. The audience guides you. You have such immediate feedback in comedy,” said Martin.
Martin has come a long way from his humble beginnings as a stand up comic.
While in his second year at NYU School of Law, he decided that it wasn’t for him and dropped out to pursue comedy. After the huge success of his hour long Comedy Central special “Demetri Martin. Person.,” he scored appearances on “The Daily Show” and a starring role in 2009’s “Taking Woodstock”.
Martin has an entirely new act that will be premiering on Comedy Central this weekend and he feels he has definitely hit his stride with this hour long special. While describing what fans can expect from the new special, he explains that this one is less complex than the first.
“It’s a lot of jokes, a lot of one-liners. I tried to pare it down. For my other comedy specials I had friends on stage and they were wearing costumes, stuff like that. And there were a lot of set decorations. This time it’s just a black curtain on a black stage and me telling jokes,” said Martin.
Martin’s act will still include his trademark large notepad drawings and will perform part of his act while simultaneously playing the guitar and harmonica.
When asked what he does to prepare for his shows, Martin says, “I usually look through my notebook to see what new bits I want to try. And I’ll do all the drawings I’ll need for my show [at the venue]. Then I usually eat something. I don’t have any rituals…but I will kill a small animal that’s nearby,” said Martin.
“I don’t usually tell people that. I just try to get access to something small and kinda helpless so I can kill it and feel powerful.”
No animals were harmed in the process of this interview or the writing of this article. As for the preparation of his filmed special there are no guarantees. But don’t let that get you down. Be sure to check out “Demetri Martin. Standup Comedian.” on Saturday, September 29.