The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Writer Finds a Cure for Any Illness

4 min read


If laughter be the best medicine, then bring on the comedy during this peak of the flu and cold season. We have not been back at school for long, yet everywhere you go you fear you will catch some long, drawn-out snivel fest as your classmates cough, sneeze and noisily clear their throats mid-participation.

What better way to fight off the Mucinex blues as you sit in quarantine with your under-the-weather friends than a brand new stand-up comedy DVD by Demetri Martin?

My crew and I are huge fans of stand-up comedy and as they introduce me to new comedians, I try to do the same for my two older brothers. Sharing proved fruitful as I received Demetri Martin’s latest comedy DVD entitled “Person” (2007) for Christmas from my oldest brother.

Well, my friends and I were already digging Kyle Cease long before he graced Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium. Since he seemed to tickle a large chunk of the Mary Wash community’s funny bone, it seems only fair that Demetri Martin deserves a shout-out as well.

Martin’s brand of humor is pretty interesting. Rather than telling long, personal stories from his own life (although there is some of that as well) the easiest way to characterize his comedic style is that it is mainly comprised of quick, very smart and dead-on one-liners.

Martin is the king of making the most random, smart and quirky observations of his surroundings.

He loves to play with language and to make fun of everyday situations and occurrences. Example: “I wanna make a revolving door that says ‘pull’ on it,  just to see how obedient people are.”

While there is no long build-up of laughter that usually goes along with the story-telling kind of stand-up, Martin provokes intense staccato bursts of laughter with each joke.

My friends and I would literally pause in between bits and just wait for the next punch line. Martin never disappointed.

Put it this way, if you wanted your “peeps” on your AIM buddy list to experience a quick chuckle you could very easily copy/paste some Demetri jokes in your away message box without having people feel like they’re reading a short novel.

As soon as the main menu of the DVD shows up on screen, Martin’s sense of humor becomes apparent. There are four stars with various choices written on them; such as “Play” or “Bonus Features.” Then there is one star that says “Nothing” on it. Right then and there you know you are in for some pretty weird but extremely funny stuff.

Martin’s clever and quick wit does not come as a surprise after finding out that he graduated from Yale and has been a contributor on The Daily Show.

According to the wonderful world of, Martin was raised in New Jersey and attended both Yale University and New York University School of Law on a full scholarship. However, he dropped out one year before graduating from law school to pursue a career in comedy—a bold move that obviously demonstrates that making people laugh must be an important passion.

Martin’s big break happened in 2001 on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. In 2003, he received the Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

From 2003 to 2004 he wrote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien and following that in 2004 Martin performed for his own Comedy Central Presents special.

A comment that popped up a lot during our viewing was, “He’s so weird, but so damn funny.” Take Kyle Cease’s weirder material and you will have a good sense of what Demetri is about.

There is a lot of music involved in his act, which contributes to the steady pulse of his one-liners. Visually, this is a feast for the eyes as well because you can see just how talented Martin is.

Often playing three instruments simultaneously, using hands, mouth and feet, Demetri Martin brings audience to spontaneously erupt in applause and laughter because the whole show becomes so ridiculous and so good and so funny all at once.

Speaking of ridiculous, there are some parts of Martin’s act that will probably confuse most people. Toward the end of the show Martin puts on a play of sorts.

As he narrates the story, his relatives and friends act out various bizarre roles that help tell the story of where his jokes will end up once they have left his mouth.

Long story short, they keep flying, ending up in the universe and the craziness keeps on going from there.

This part of Martin’s stand-up has a very home-made touch in that the whole production looks like something out of an elementary school and the fact some of the other people on stage are close to him, makes it all the more personal and fun.

Comedy is in the air, people, so go out there and catch those airborne Demetri Martin jokes, not the next cold.

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