“Have a good show. Don’t be a dick,” comedian Demetri Martin said into an audio tape recorder, making notes for himself at the start of A&O’s presentation of “An Evening with Demetri Martin.”
Rocking a shirt plainly stating “Person,” Martin needed no opener for his Feb. 26 performance at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Performing before a rain-soaked, sold-out crowd, the comedian served as his own warm-up act, delivering seemingly off-the-cuff jokes that allowed those with wet socks and wet jeans to promptly refocus their attention.
Best known for his deadpan one-liners, piano-harmonica medleys and ambidextrous abilities, Martin stuck to his brand of comedy — which luckily included a lot of new material. After entertaining his confusion for Northwestern’s constant midterms and the beehive vibe of the Pick-Staiger stage, Martin segued into rapid-fire jokes that jumped from sticking a wet sheep in the dryer to literal battles between professional sport team mascots. His consistent pace, comedic timing and vault of new jokes kept the packed house laughing with few pauses for breath.
After promising to return, Martin went backstage to retrieve his stand-up staple and fan favorite, The Large Pad. While Martin’s comedy has been compared to late comedian Mitch Hedberg’s approach, consistencies like the Pad have become analogous with Martin’s newfound voice and style, something audiences now expect and adore, as evidenced by the overwhelming applause at the mere sight of the Pad. Its pages included Martin’s signature graphs; one charted the enjoyment of watching karaoke based on how bad the person singing is, and another listed the “other” policies after “the best” policy of honesty.
In another signature act, Martin played piano and later the guitar and harmonica while spitting out jokes in quick succession. His list of “Cool Ways to Propose” was especially well-received, including gems such as breaking your lady’s finger and conspiring with a doctor so that when she gets her cast off, she finds both the ring and that fact that she’s been engaged for three weeks. It was this nonsensical reasoning that had the audience roaring.
It wasn’t long before the women of Northwestern also audibly voiced their “appreciation” for Mr. Martin’s charming sense of humor and floppy hair. After asking the audience for questions, one girl yelled “What’s your number?” to which he replied “Five.”
Nearing the end of the show, Martin asked if everyone would enjoy hearing some of his older material, to which the crowd responded by yelling out their favorite jokes. Like an old touring band paying tribute to their greatest hits, he launched into a series of jokes from televised specials and shows, commenting on the naming of the orange, the effect of adding “ladies” to the end of a sentence, and swimming as a sport versus swimming as a means of survival. His ADD-brand of comedy ended the show on a high note.
An hour and a half after opening the show, it’s safe to say that with his mix of absurdity and shy giggling, Demetri definitely delivered. And all without ever being a dick.