Over the course of his career, Demetri Martin has transformed being awkward into an art form. Through his three books, drawings, and music he has incorporated into his stage act, and his four stand-up specials-worth of one-liners and deadpan humor, the Yale grad has made a career out of being awkward in the best possible way. He’ll look to further polish his artform when he brings his “Let’s Get Awkward” tour to Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on Friday night (March 9) For a pair of shows.
Over the years, Martin has grown especially fond of certain cities, with Boston being one of the select few that grab the Comedy Central vet’s attention for a few different reasons. Aside from Boston’s comedy fans that have sold out his shows time and time again, Martin has also taken a tourist’s liking to the city, as well.
“I tend to go to museums a lot, because I love art,” Martin tells Vanyaland. “Museums are a great place to just relax and daydream, just looking at paintings and sculptures and stuff, and especially if it’s cold out, I’ll just go out and walk around instead of sitting in my hotel room during the winter time. Aside from the great crowds I get there, and the shows that I usually enjoy, Boston has some great bookstores, too. If I’m in Cambridge, I’ll usually go and hit five or six bookstores I like there. That’s helped me see Boston as a sort of home away from home, but it’s a little weird when you’re alone and experiencing it like you’re a drifter.”
I would describe myself as the kind of person who describes himself as the kind of person who would describe himself.
— Demetri Martin (@DemetriMartin) February 15, 2018
Much like paintings and books, stand-up never gets too stale for Martin, as he sees it as a constant work-in-progress. He just shot his upcoming special in December, before he embarked on this tour, and in addition to the allowance to work up a new hour of material, a certain pressure has been lifted off of him since shooting the special, and that has freed him up to feel like he can breeze through the rest of the dates on his schedule.
“I think it does [take pressure off],” says Martin. “That was my fourth hour-special, so it’s nice to have a few behind me, but there’s always pressure to have the taping go well, even though it does get easier after each one,” he continued. “It’s like the feeling you get when you finish your exams, when you just think ‘okay, I can do this, but I know I can do something different here, change these things around there,’ so it’s a lot easier for me to experiment with different jokes and ideas after the fact, whereas when I’m approaching the special, I’m in more of an editing mode.”
After dipping his toes in many creative waters over the years, whether it be filmmaking, sketch comedy and improv, writing books, or stand-up, Martin has done a little of everything in show business. Along the way, he has learned an interesting lesson about himself.
“I just like telling jokes,” he admits. “I’ve tried to tell longer stories during my sets before, and do things that were more theatrical, and while it was more nonfiction than my one-liners, I got sick of telling those stories quicker. I like jokes, but not just because I like to think of them or the structure of them and the game of writing jokes, but also because I don’t sick of jokes as quickly. When I’m telling jokes, I feel like I’m sharing my ideas, but I’m not trying so much to talk about myself. I can handle maybe one or two stories during a set, but I just get tired of talking about myself after awhile.”