Didn’t catch Demetri Martin’s new show? Eh, it’s not important.

Demetri Martin's "Important Things" premieres with a whimper.

Demetri Martin’s new show on Comedy Central, “Important Things,” aired on Wednesday night, and I’m pretty sure Central’s executives are wondering why they green-lighted the project.

Some at the U of C might know Martin from his appearance at the annual MAB event in 2007; he was the last minute replacement when The Decembrists cancelled their fall tour. Others will recognize him from his stint as a correspondent on the Daily Show–which, by the way, has pretty much replaced Saturday Night Live as the fast lane to the comedy big leagues.

His new show is a grab bag of sketches, standup and animated shorts, all stamped with that inimitable Demetri Martin essence. Martin’s comedy never shoots for big laughs; rather, he sets his sights for the frisson of a twist of logic or sudden reversal in a line of thought. A classic example of this sort of verbal play would be the old joke that if pro is the opposite of con, isn’t congress the opposite of progress? Somehow, Martin packs venues with this meaningless prattle, although all would agree that a roommate or significant other who offered these sorts of observations one too many times would richly deserve a swift kick in the solar plexus.

Martin’s also known for his use of visual aids–crude drawings on an easel, often with captions, that test the limit of what can be honestly called a “visual pun.” He also plays guitar and harmonica, and his “Garden State”-like soundtrack often seems quite out of place amidst jokes that begin (and end) with a question like, “Were there goths in Gothic times?”

That being said, “Important Things” is interesting because the entire show is based on a single theme–in the premiere’s case, “timing.” Martin’s skits–about an actor who only emotes off-camera, a “time travel gigolo,” etc.–show some imagination, and feature cameos by some talented actors (H. Jon Benjamin, better known as Coach McGuirk in “Home Movies,” plays the director in the skit about the actor with bad timing). But, unlike Dave Chappelle, Martin simply does not have the personality or acting chops to make his characters more than shallow vessels for a one-note idea.

I guess Demetri Martin will have to go back to the drawing board–although in his case, that may not be such a great idea.


  • Dan

    Totally, disagree. Dmitri Martin is hilarious

  • Crass McCrane

    You suck. Chicago Pizza Sucks. The Chicago Black Hawks are cool….But you suck as much if not more than the pizza you enjoy!

  • william hallam

    I agree. Dmitri is one of the greats. Rossi’s review clearly reveals his own idiocy. Hey, if you don’t get it, it’s not funny.

  • savi

    boo. DEMETRI rocks. as did his show. your reasoning and comparison to Chappelle fell five miles short of cogency. why spend the entire article with general statements and then put in like two sentences about the show itself?
    your article = “meaningless prattle” and consider this a cyber-kick to the solar plexUS.
    (dude. copy editors. you spelled his name wrong. and solar plexus. what the heck?)

  • Ellen

    Hey, I’m a 50 year old mom and I think
    Demetri Martin in hysterically funny. SMART funny! My kids and I love it.

  • Ken

    I think if you really go to Demetri Martin’s show looking for a long string of cognizant stories and thematically relevant connections, you’re missing the point somewhat. Martin’s comedy lies in the entire act, and his personality is a part of that. His jokes are funny BECAUSE he’s not just rattling them off like Chapelle or Mencia would; think less Chris Rock, more Napoleon Dynamite (to use movie equivalents). Is it going to get tired? Sure. And maybe this is just me, but I would get tired of a guy constantly making black jokes just as quickly as my dumb roommate trying for observational comedy. Give him a shot, you may find his psuedo-intellectual style grows on you.

  • chris

    I think you were too soft, Demetri Martin is not funny at all. His show just seems like a pathetic attempt to peddle his music and his visual aid jokes seem like they were meant for middle school kids. oh and Ken, Chris Rock is a stand up comedian, so your comparison is rather weak.

  • SC Zackman

    I would think you would have to give him some credit for trying to break the mold a little bit. It may not be for everybody. Some people need the in your face shock humor (I know sometimes I do), but that doesn’t mean theres something wrong with smart humor. In the end all comedy is meaningless prattle, and its refreshing to have it served up in a different way from time to time.

  • Adnan

    Demitri is twisted in a funny way, I like him.

  • CMApro

    He’s an idiot, anyone can state the obvious. Funniest part about it is… the amount of uneducated people lacking a real sense of humor that like his show, get a life.

  • Monks

    Demetri is like a new-age Jerry Seinfeld without the laughs. If you listen to his CD “These Are Jokes” there are people laughing at parts that aren’t even supposed to be funny and are just the set up to the jokes. I honestly don’t believe that your average Demetri Martin fan even understands which parts are the jokes and which parts aren’t. And then if you insult Demetri to a fan they will attempt to insult your intelligence by saying you “aren’t smart enough” to get his jokes without knowing anything about the person they are insulting. Demetri is awful. SC on here attempts to call this “smart humor” and that’s what other fans do as well. But again, his stuff isn’t funny. Where’s the humor? They are observations and the majority of them not humorous in any way. Demetri’s fans are clueless. If you want to laugh listen to Bill Burr. THAT’S a comedian.

  • Clay

    you people are stupid! he is the worst comic I have ever heard there is a reason his show is canceled.

  • Demetrimartin

    Demetri Martin is so intelligent haha


    The guy sucks bigtime. Sophmoric attempts at being a “smart” comic. A complete unknown in a couple of years… Thank God.

  • Drock

    It’s amazing how harsh some of you poeple are on this guy who’s sole purpose in life is to make others laugh. If you don’t get it, move the f**k on and be happy with whatever it is that makes your reptilian brain tickle your face hole to produce laughter. You are just not getting subtle humor and most likely never will. Any comedian that makes it to this level is obviously producing material that has been noticed and enjoyed by a huge demographic that the folks at CC are very aware and critical of. If any one of you comic critics/geniuses that have slammed Mr. Martin in this post can make me laugh with just one humorous take on any mundane everyday situation, the floor is yours, make me laugh…no? So you’ve got no talent at all? Then shut the f**k up and go put on your Jeff Foxworthy DVD!!