Clearly, Levi, appearing several months ago on the Dec. 23, 2010, episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, got his first big laugh with a line that's strikingly similar to a joke Martin made about glitter on his 2006 CD/DVD, These Are Jokes. Martin: "Glitter doesn't go away. Glitter is the herpes of crafts supplies." Levi: "Glitter is the herpes of the arts and crafts world. I'm convinced. It does not go away."
OK. So. Now what? Internet want a cookie?
Demetri Martin has a new book out this week, titled simply, This is a Book.
Of course Martin designed the cover himself. You can buy his book now via Amazon.com.
Back before they were famous for being the Upright Citizens Brigade, the UCB players produced their first feature-length film that spoofed both Spring Break and Girls Gone Wild. Naturally, it's called Wild Girls Gone, and it's only now available for your digital download pleasure via iTunes.
That seemed so random, but then again, this isn't the only random comedy news for today.
Someone in our conference call with Sarah Silverman last week asked her if she had any sexual tension with Demetri Martin. I didn't have to worry about restraining my hyena laughs because my end of the line was on mute at that very moment. There's no such thing as a stupid question is something stupid people say right before they ask a very stupid question. Anyhow. Then I saw this ad over the weekend. Both Silverman and Martin like to break out into song, but I never imagined a world that would have them flying and spinning in the air, hand in hand. Until now. Roll the advertisement! New episodes air Thursday on Comedy Central.
A few things to mention before we get back to our regularly scheduled blogging:
Trying to wrap my head around some comedy-related news to emerge last night (and no, not talking about the final minutes of Lost, though, wow). So I'm wondering how you feel about these two things that happened.
First, we learned that the Farrelly Brothers and MGM finally look like they have a deal and a cast in place for the movie the brothers long have wanted to make about The Three Stooges. OK. So far, so good. Farrelly Brothers celebrating their outrageous comedy forefathers. So who will play Moe, Larry and Curly? Jim Carrey allegedly already is looking to pack on the pounds to play Curly. A stretch, so to speak, but we can imagine it. Go on. Sean Penn as Larry. There's a resemblance, but Penn seems more the Moe personality. Hmmm. Benicio Del Toro as Moe. Wait. What now?
So, secondly, Demetri Martin debuted the first trailer for Taking Woodstock, an Ang Lee movie starring Martin as a guy looking to make a motel with his folks work out in upstate New York, when along comes this hippie concert and real-life hijinx ensue. Woodstock's 40th anniversary is coming up, so, alrighty, why not. But then again, why again? Hippy dippy. You can watch:
So...which one of these things is odder than the other...which one of these things just doesn't belong? Or maybe they both belong, but just rather oddly so.
Demetri Martin was a guest last night on The Late Show with David Letterman, and no, he didn't perform any stand-up, and yes, I wasn't the only one who thought that panel segment went rather awkwardly, so the less said about that, the better. Too much already? Let's move on, then, with an additional look at the episode of "Timing" for Important Things with Demetri Martin, which debuts Feb. 11 on Comedy Central. I would include all three videos Comedy Central provided, but two of them are shorter than the 30-second ads that precede them. Here, though, is a clip from a sketch in which Martin becomes a "time gigolo." Read on for more important things about Important Things with Demetri Martin.
Comedy Central has begun releasing more details today about the upcoming new stand-up/sketch/musical comedy hybrid, Important Things with Demetri Martin, along with a newish video preview that first appeared last week. I attended the final taping of the six-episode run in December, which included elements of all six episodes, so watch this video, then prepare to learn many important things about Important Things with Demetri Martin:
After the jump, 19 Important Things about Important Things with Demetri Martin...
In real-life, the New Zealand comedy music duo Flight of the Conchords won a Grammy this year and is up for another one in 2009. In their HBO show, however, Bret and Jermaine are still trying to catch a break as the second season opens. Funny or Die gets to bring us the premiere a month before it airs on HBO, for American audiences only (sorry, not my call), so watch it now, and see what happens. Greg Proops, Andrea Rosen and Andrew Secunda make appearances, as well as season one regulars Kristen Schaal and Arj Barker. There's also a subplot for Crazy Doggs (the competing band from Todd Barry and Demetri Martin).
Watch to the end, and you'll also get a sneak peek at the HBO comedy, East Bound & Down, featuring Danny McBride, Will Ferrell and Andrew Daly. Enjoy!
Mulaney spent more than a bit of his summer writing for the upcoming Comedy Central sketch and variety show, Important Things with Demetri Martin, still tentatively slated for an October debut. The writing staff there included head writer Michael Koman (previously on staff at Conan), Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, and of course, Martin himself. "It was great. I was working with some of the funniest people I've ever met," Mulaney said of that experience. "The bar was set high. It was challenging. You wanted to make people like Jon Benjamin laugh. It feels good when you do."
That wasn't Mulaney's first TV writing credit, either. "I had done a couple of small projects, and I'd written a pilot for Comedy Central with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter before." No, not the show the network greenlighted this summer, but a previous pilot project from last year.
Though still relatively young as both a stand-up and a writer, Mulaney offered this perspective on his recent experience with Martin's show versus writing for himself. "It wasn't easy or hard. You could be more comfortable because you're working with other people, sitting around with people you trust," he said. "That was great to be writing for someone like Demetri who is really open to a lot of different ideas...and is extremely hilarious."
Now Mulaney has an even bigger pool of talent to work with at NBC's legendary Saturday Night Live.
Dan Mintz is the new guy at the Comedy Cellar, and he couldn't be happier about it. At least that's what Mintz told me last weekend before going up for another spot. He's on the schedule this Saturday, and again on Tuesday-Wednesday. If you cannot imagine Mintz playing to a Cellar crowd on a Saturday night, then you don't have an imagination -- because throwing Mintz and his one-liners in between crowd-working New York comics is such a jolt to the system that audiences love him even more. So much, at points, that they even have gotten Mintz to crack up and break his vocal rhythm. Good times.
Mintz has been in New York City the past few months working on Demetri Martin's upcoming Comedy Central show (Important Things with Demetri Martin), which should follow the Chappelle's Show format: Martin hosting and talking/joking with the crowd between taped sketches. Mintz said he only has been in one sketch so far. But look for Jon Benjamin to show up in a lot of the bits. Debut: 2009?
Gothamist published a new interview with Demetri Martin today that doesn't get a lot out of the comedian during their limited email correspondence, timed toward Martin's late-night Tuesday series at Rififi (which continues tonight and June 3, doors at 10 p.m., $5) that has him trying out new jokes along with special guests. Martin's upcoming Comedy Central show, "Important Things with Demetri Martin," tentatively has a fall 2008 debut (at least from MTV Networks described at the upfronts). There's a good reason to prepare some new material right there.
Martin did reveal one interesting thing when Gothamist asked him if he felt he needed to be "on" during his offstage life now that more people know him, replying: "I’m not even ‘on’ all the time on stage."
That's certainly true for anyone who has seen Martin recently at places such as Rififi, with the comedian often going up while still carrying a backpack and wearing multiple layers, taking his time to gather himself, and also pausing to reflect on his surroundings. It's not polished, not meant to be. Watching Martin try out new material is a slightly surreal experience, not just for the aforementioned reason, but also because of his joke-telling style. Martin, like Steven Wright, Zach Galifianakis, or the late Mitch Hedberg before him, attempts to take observational humor in a more creative direction. His artistic and musical talents help him in that regard. But sometimes, to get to a thought that stops an audience in its tracks with laughter, you see thoughts that are more commonplace. Yes, all comedians tell new jokes, so yes, all comedians end up telling a new joke here and there that doesn't work. It's just weirder when you see it with someone such as Martin. It reminds me of seeing Jerry Seinfeld, who took observational comedy to famous and fabulously wealthy lengths, telling a very hack joke about erectile dysfunction. Except Seinfeld told that joke (more than once) to thousands of fans who paid top dollar to see him in theater concerts. At least Martin is trying out his new observations in front of only dozens of fans, paying $5 to see him in an East Village dive, so he can figure out what really works and what should make it to the TV show. And that's a very Important Thing indeed.
You'd think Zach Galifianakis would be the big man on any campus, but that did not prove to be the case with these coeds at the Ohio State University. We need to improve his profile. "I'm not homeless. I'm eccentric," he says. We believe you, Zach! Will any of this footage include items you need to know May 21 at Zach's rock trivia night with Les Savy Fav? You'll have to pay close attention, then head to the Highline Ballroom ($25) to find out. It's a New York mag party. Enjoy.
A graphic representation of the party invite, after the jump.
The Funny or Die comedy tour, with Will Ferrell presenting Zach Galifianakis, Nick Swardson and Demetri Martin, played to a sold-out crowd last night at Ohio State University.
Then, for reasons not entirely explained in this photo (nor even on her Tumblr), Martin flew back to New York City on a private plane with Time Out dating columnist and cover-girl Julia Allison.
You can read the Funny or Die tour blog here. And after the jump, a slightly related video from the FOD Comedy Tour Team. The tour's next stops are Feb. 11 at Penn State, Feb. 12 at the University of Rhode Island, Feb. 13 at Boston College, Feb. 22 at North Carolina, and Feb. 24 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
As a journalist, reaching the final page of the notebook always prompts mixed emotions. First, excitement at the prospect of starting anew with a clean, fresh pad of paper. Then, a touch of sadness, because you've held this pad literally close to the vest for months, and inside it are memories, written down and kept with you, but nevermore. And you know that even though you keep your notes around for years to come, the odds remind you that you'll likely not open this pad again, leaving it with the other memories of shows and interviews and news gone by. Was there something you'd written that shouldn't be left behind, you wonder? If you're lucky to remember, you flip back through the pages looking for important phone numbers, names and notes to self that actually became notes to self.
I found a few shows I'd seen that made my notepad but hadn't been shared yet. So let's get to it.
Goodnight, OJ: This one-woman show by Livia Scott (directed by Baron Vaughn) has its final performance tonight (Jan. 30) at the UCB Theatre in NYC. In it, Scott re-examines and performs actual letters written to OJ Simpson when he was in jail back in 1994 charged with double murder. I saw this show Nov. 29, 2007, when Simpson had just come back into the news -- and jail -- for his Vegas shenanigans. Scott and Vaughn made a conscious decision to include not only letters of dark humor but also darkly depressing notes. Wasn't expecting that. Scott told me they've shuffled the order of the letters from show to show, and believes the Simpson trial was one of the last things (9/11 notwithstanding) that brought everyone together to watch in shock and awe. I found the Colette letters as well as the notes from children to be quite funny and touching. Still not sure about including some of the darker stuff (one letter is addressed, "Hey, Sambo"), but I suppose that's what makes this more of a theatrical piece than a straight comedy.
We Kate Shelly: Sketch comedy from Kate Hess and Shelly Stover. Stover has such an expressive face and uses it to great effect. The duo has a big musical number finale. At the show I saw, their impact was lessened a bit because, without microphones, some of their scenes were more difficult to follow. They're at the UCB in NYC on Jan. 31, Feb. 4, and Feb. 18.
The Collective: There is a management firm known as The Collective. This is a diferent collective of New York City actors and comedians, and they invited me to see a comedy show they held after a play at Centerstage on West 21st Street. Fourth-floor venue. Very theatrical crowd, obviously most watched the company's play and stayed afterward, and quite welcoming to all the comedians. Amy Schumer hosted, talking to the audience as if she were friends with all of them (which heck, she may have been!). Comedians on the lineup included Mike DeStefano, Jackie Monahan, Demetri Martin, Mara Herron, Maggie Champagne and Jesse Joyce. Schumer told me later that night that they hope to produce more plays and comedy shows, just looking for the right venue.
Ritalin Readings: The Slipper Room had the feeling of a cozy living room before December's showcase of writers and comedians reading, with hosts Lindsay Robertson and Gabriel Delahaye. Delahaye opened with a bang by reading from "The Y2K Personal Survival Guide," with the helpful tips such as stocking up on two-liter soft drink bottles. Didn't hear much from Robertson but hope to next time. The show did throw me for a bit of a loop, though, when the first two performers didn't read at all. Sean O'Connor did stand-up. Elna Baker presented a story she was rehearsing for radio's This American Life about working in toy demonstration at FAO Schwartz. Both funny, but wasn't this about reading? Lang Fisher did have a letter she'd written to a potential employer in becoming an assistant farmer, while Will Leitch read from his upcoming book (now out) based on his Deadspin experiences, and show producer Jon Friedman shared an email he sent to all of his coworkers on his last day as an NBC intern. Patrick Borelli closed the show with crazy, true and quick stories.
I think that gets us almost caught up.
Comedy Central's annual "Stand-Up Showdown" airs today, rebroadcasting the top 20 stand-up specials as voted online by fans over the past month. It's airing now!
The full schedule/countdown...which began at 11:30 a.m. today...(with applicable taping season)
20) Loni Love (season 11)
19) Doug Benson (season 8)
18) Chelsea Handler (season 11)
17) Steve Byrne (season 10)
16) Maria Bamford (season 11)*
15) Rich Vos (season 7)*
14) Dane Cook (season 3)
13) Stephen Lynch (season 12)**
12) Mike Birbiglia (season 10)*
11) Demetri Martin (season 8)
10) Mitch Hedberg (season 1)
9) Jim Gaffigan (season 3)
8) Pablo Francisco (season 4)
7) Kyle Cease (season 10)
6) Mitch Fatel (season 11)
5) Lewis Black (season 6)*
4) Frank Caliendo (season 8)
3) Lisa Landry (season 11)
2) Josh Sneed (season 11)
1) Jeff Dunham (his Spark of Insanity hourlong special)
* These comedians have multiple half-hour CCPs. Rich Vos has one upcoming this season.
** Stephen Lynch is the only one from this current crop of CCPs to make the list. Which, of course, is unfair to the many comedians this season who also taped with Lynch but haven't gotten on the air yet. Then again, this whole "showdown" is essentially just a test to see which comedian wants to mobilize his or her fans to vote early and often for them to get an extra TV airing. Really, that's it. No big cash prize. No trophy. But it certainly got us paying attention to Comedy Central on a Sunday in January, right? Of course, if I were one of the comedians who made the top 20, I'd probably still feel pretty good about it (while also looking at the other comedians who got listed ahead of me and behind me and wondering where I stood, which is why you have to realize and remind yourself that this isn't a "showdown" at all).
Demetri Martin called me from Orlando, Fla., where he had just awoken from a post-Epcot slumber. Then again, he deserved a nap. As he told me, "We walked through 10 countries, around a lake. A lot of travel." Martin's stand-up comedy tour comes to Boston on Saturday — that's tonight, my friends, at the Berklee Performance Center. He's happy about that. Not so happy to learn he's here the same night and time as Denis Leary's Comics Come Home. "So I'm basically fighting their cause? S—, that's too bad. Maybe there'll be some people who are against them, so they'll come see me," Martin told me.
Lots of people are quick to try to compare Martin's dry delivery to either Steven Wright or Mitch Hedberg. Certainly, a few of Martin's initial jokes on his new CD/DVD, These Are Jokes, sound Hedbergian in tone, subject matter and cadence. But who else would think to "remix" their jokes with glockenspiel? Or introduce an interpreter (in Martin's case, Leo Allen)? On one joke in particular, though, I thought of another stand-up, my friend and Martin's friend, Val Kappa. The joke has Martin describing how he got his hair cut especially for the show, and told the stylist what he wanted, "but it must've come out, gay Beatle please!" I could just hear Val saying that in just that way. Only, as I pointed out to Martin, Val would be wearing a bandana, anyhow. Martin laughed, and reported he still sports the "gay Beatle" look. "Yeah, I just wanted to get the back cut, and she messed up the whole thing. I hope it'll grow back by the time I have to tape that special." That special is his hourlong Comedy Central show, which he'll tape at one of his last stops on this tour, next month in Austin, Texas.
I knew that Demetri and Val were friends because I saw her on his MySpace Top 8 earlier this year when he produced a "TrendSpotting" segment about MySpace for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Did he know that would land him thousands more new friends almost immediately? "That was a weird one, because I had a MySpace account, so to do a satirical piece and not acknowledge I had one would be disingenuous…I acknowledged I was on it and flashed the account, and it wasn't supposed to be all about mine, but I knew there'd be some repercussions. So yeah," he said. "I'm getting a little worn out on MySpace. I long for the days, when I was in college, we did not have cell phones. E-mail was just starting out. I sort of long for those days."
Martin will do another TrendSpotting segment when his tour hits Columbus, Ohio, and Ohio State. The trend: Youth involvement. But what's the trend, exactly? "I know there are tons of groups. My producer, Rory, has a list of groups and it's lengthy. I think there are 700 of them. It's pretty hardcore." Was he hardcore into student activities? "From high school to law school, I was involved in a lot of different things, president of a few…when my friends saw Rushmore, they said, 'Yeah, this reminded us of you.' (Comedy Central) has been great to me. From the get-go, they said 'We liked what you do, your sensibility…they're good, they're hands off, and at the end, they give me notes." And they don't make him wear suits like the other Daily Show correspondents. "Just my own corduroy jacket and knit tie." Martin also says it's been easy working with Microsoft. Microsoft Vista sponsors his comedy tour and supplies a full-service multimedia Web site: www.clearification.com
The site is kind of freaky at first, with the animated version of 33-year-old Martin moving around the screen, telling you jokes and describing the different parts of the site. Looks like something from the mid-to-late Beatles period, too, come to think of it. He also has a series of Web-only videos (webisodes, the old folks call 'em), with strong production values. "It's kind of cool," he said. "They let us do whatever we wanted. It's just freewheeling. It's cool that a corporation would be free and loose with it. It's been fun."
His DVD includes fun music videos and animation, too. For comics, of course, the real joy is watching two old sets at comedy clubs. About "An Earl Gig," in which Martin wore shorts, had a beard, a T-shirt that read "Dimitri" and showed off his many talents, including unicycling. "That was a show where I made everything in the show. I made the clothes. I made the music. I did some drawings in the show. And I painted the poster. That was my first one-man show." And the unicycling? "Yeah, I learned that in high school," he said. "And that show was from like four years ago." About "An Earlier Gig," recorded at Caroline's in 1998: "Very short hair. I found it funny. I'll probably lose it anyways (the hair or the video?) so at least I'll have a record of it. It's only two minutes," he said. "I feel less afraid to try different things onstage. When I first started, I was just trying to tell jokes and get them to work," he said. "Now, I pace it differently. It's more narrative in structure. You can change it up because you're more yourself up there…just to really be yourself in front of a group of people and when you find yourself out there, you're on the right road." Are you talking about POV? "With time, it's less about pursuing it or finding some point of view, but just relenting and being yourself. It's not, 'Oh, I gotta get, what's my thing?' It's more, 'What am I thinking about?' That's where you find yourself."