Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

‘This is a show about things,’ proclaimed comedian Demetri Martin at the start of his new program, ‘Important Things with Demetri Martin,’ which premiered last Wednesday on Comedy Central. It is, perhaps, the best way to describe the show.

Martin, a Yale graduate and NYU Law School dropout, has garnered a loyal fan base in recent years. He has released two comedy albums since 2006, was featured as a ‘youth correspondent’ on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ and in 2007 had his own hour-long Comedy Central special entitled ‘Demetri Martin. Person.’ His new series’ provides’ many more people the opportunity to experience his understated brand of humor.
Each episode of ‘Important Things’ features Martin in various sketches and stand-up segments that are loosely based on one ‘important’ subject. The topic Martin tackled in the first episode was timing. Some of the segments included a time traveling janitor who becomes a ‘Time Gigolo,’ a rookie cop who makes a fatal mistake and then celebrates by getting ice cream and ‘a guy who is too early for a rave’ dancing in the streets of New York City with a beach ball.
A sketch where Martin played an actor who cannot turn his anger on for the camera, which featured a cameo from actress Amanda Peet, was particularly hilarious. A fake commercial for De Veers diamonds – in which there is a ring for every occasion – went on a bit too long, but generally the segments were just the right length. Humorous animations drawn by Martin were spliced in between sketches to help ensure that no one segment overstayed its welcome.

Martin’s comedic brilliance shone through during the stand-up portions of the show. He did what he does best during his ‘demonstration,’ in which he played a harmonica, keyboard, guitar and bells simultaneously while flipping the pages of a giant note pad. The jokes were based on Martin’s rudimentary drawings; with a simple caption change and page turn, a picture of a button became a disappointing pepperoni pizza and a drawing of a sunset became a bald man sitting behind a table.

Non-sequiturs are Martin’s strong suit, and ‘Important Things’ follows this concept. There is no real logic to the show’s organization, something that mirrors his random one-liners. In the first episode, for example, he broke down the terminology of time (explaining such terms as millivanillisecond, equal to the amount of time in which Milli Vanilli was popular) and then moved on to a joke about how onion rings are often impatient.

At the end of the episode, Martin flipped to a page on his pad that read, ‘By the way, I’m not an idiot.’

Of course, Martin need not state this; loyal fans and viewers of his show know that he is a sharp observational comic who employs the perfect blend of self-deprecation and absurdity to produce laugh-out-loud results.

More than 2.4 million viewers watched the first episode of ‘Important Things,’ making it Comedy Central’s biggest premiere since the debut of ‘Chappelle’s Show’ six years ago, according to The Hollywood Reporter Web site. Such impressive ratings are a sign that we will be learning many more ‘Important Things’ from Martin in the future.

To watch ‘Important Things,’ you can download a sneak peek of a forthcoming episode entitled ‘Coolness’ for free on iTunes. Some of the series’ clips are available on Comedy Central’s Web site, but your best bet is to tune into Comedy Central on Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. to catch this smart and funny series.

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