Monday, January 12, 2009

Dispatch from press tour: Demetri Martin makes some funnies

Yesterday was a rare off day in the middle of press tour, as no channel wanted to present on the day of the Golden Globes. After spending much of Sunday getting caught up on writing (when I wasn't busy tearing my hair out at Giants-Eagles), I'm going to be running around to a bunch of set visits today, highlighted by a stop at the "CSI" set a few days before William Petersen's final episode.

So since I have no sessions from yesterday to report on, and since I'll be out and about pretty much all of today, I thought I'd revisit a session from last week that I wanted to write up but never found a chance to: Comedy Central's "Important Things with Demetri Martin," which premieres on February 11th.

Martin's the latest "Daily Show" correspondent to get promoted into his own series, and based on both the very funny pilot for "Important Things" and the equally funny press conference, he looks to be worthy of the gig.

"Important Things" is a mix of sketches, stand-up, music and animation, with each episode built around a topic that can be very broad (power) or very narrow (chairs). As Martin put it, "It's a good show, and it's thing-oriented."

I'll be writing more about it closer to the debut, but in the meantime, a few highlights from the session:

• Martin rattled off a series of little-known facts, including that "Most castles in America are located in fish tanks... So we have what is called a submerged monarchy in the United States."

• Martin made extensive use of his trademark sketch pad (which is a key part of the series) to show us various diagrams, including an empty circle that he described as "a pie chart about procrastination."

• In talking about his target audience, he said he ideally would like the whole world to watch, but will settle for America.

"Then I started thinking, okay, we have about 300 million people in the country. Look, realistically if I get a third of those people, that’s a hundred million people watching this show. So that’s great. That takes a lot of pressure off because that means 200 million people I don’t even care about, 200 million people can hate the show and it really doesn’t matter. I can disregard that two-third right off the top. So we’re going just for the hundred million that are the core of my demo."

Do you want to be one of those 200 million who are outside his core demo? I don't think so.

16 comments:

Rick said...

I saw Demetri Martin live this last summer- he really knows how to build a performance. Toward the beginning, we all snickered a bit, and that slowly built until by the end of it we were all gasping for breath. He just built up the laughter so organically... just hilarious.

Maura said...

I first saw Demetri Martin a few years ago on Comedy Central. Unlike most of the male comedians on CC, who tell endless jokes about their girlfriends shopping habits and and tendency to badger them to communicate, Martin's material was inventive and tear-inducingly hilarious. I wouldn't dream of being out of his demographic.

zodin2008 said...

I can't stand Demetri Martin. Everytime he's popped up on "The Dail Show", I fast forward.

I haven't a clue what's remotely funny about him.

dave s said...

Demetri had an hour-long special on Comeday Central last year that we watched on DVR during Superbowl halftime. It was the highlight of the night. All of us were in tears by the end. I'm really looking forward to a weekly dose of Demetri.

KB said...

I'm with zodin2008 and the other 200 million. This guy is not funny to me at all. I'm glad he'll be off the Daily Show.

The CineManiac said...

I saw Martin's stand up on Comedy Central a couple months back and it's hilarious. Can't wait to check out his series.

PFJ said...

Demetri Martin is the most famous person raised in my hometown as of now. I could not be prouder of us on this one. He's absolutely brilliant.

belinda said...

Cool! I didn't know Demetri Martin's going to have a show of his own. I look forward to it.

But, I have another pretty random, not sure where to place it in this blog this week question for you or anyone here who knows, and I hope you can help:-

I've been a long time fan of Matt Roush's columns, and while I remember finding his 'new' blog home recently at the TV magazine or whatever it's called now(maybe even here perhaps - but I can't seem to find the post/comment with it anymore), but have forgotten to bookmark the site. Now, I can't for the life of me remember what the website address is!
Can someone be kind enough as to point the way?

Much thanks.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Demetri Martin is the most famous person raised in my hometown as of now. I could not be prouder of us on this one. He's absolutely brilliant.

What town is that? The Comedy Central publicist said he thought Demetri was from Jersey, but then said he wasn't sure, and I haven't had a chance to talk directly with him.

Dr. Milton von F├╝nkdoctorspock said...

Used to write for Conan. After quitting law school to do comedy.

Stef said...

I really liked his comedy special too. I was explaining to friends tonight, actually, that most comedians these days seem to be angry sweaty guys yelling about politics/culture or guys making fun of stuff (including their girlfriends/wives) in a mean-spirited way. Demetri Martin just seems to be really clever and funny without that negativity.

Pamela Jaye said...

My press tour question - did TNT have a "session"? I just heard (like an hour ago, cause I'm slow) that Scott Bakula's (actually Ray Romano's) show got picked up for 10 eps. Whenever it is that TNT airs such things... (we had heard, I thought, they were picking up two of their pilots, and when they were announced, they didn't include Scott's. apparently something changed.)

Anonymous said...

I just looked that dude up on Wikipedia. He's older than I thought... older than me, even. I had been thinking he was one of those Gen-Y celebrities.

Maura said...

I wasn't impressed with Martin's Daily Show stuff either. I don't think it was the best showcase for him. He should just stand on the stage and talk.

Pamela Jaye said...

well according to the article in Variety, Scott's show doesn't start till *next* January.

Let's see who this Martin guy is.

PFJ said...

"What town is that? The Comedy Central publicist said he thought Demetri was from Jersey, but then said he wasn't sure, and I haven't had a chance to talk directly with him."

Toms River, New Jersey.