One-man show


“Stop mumbling!” a deep voice bellowed from the Mandel Hall audience Friday night. Onstage, comedian Demetri Martin peered out toward the voice and deadpanned, “Wow, that woman was mad.” Wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and his signature floppy haircut, Martin was soft-spoken as he threw out one-liners: “I remember when I really used to be into nostalgia. And the time before that was really great.”

Martin came to Chicago for the Major Activities Board’s fall show, a last-minute replacement for the indie-pop band the Decemberists—Martin’s explanation for the cancellation: they’ve decided to take their band name literally and tour only in December. The tickets, which went on sale November 12, were sold out in fewer than four days; by 7:00 p.m. Friday, an hour before showtime, the line snaked through the Reynolds Club into Hutch Courtyard.

A baby grand piano, a guitar, and as easel pad labeled, “Large Pad,” cluttered the stage. The piano, Martin complained, is such a pain to travel with. Playing the instruments as he recited lists he’s made—“get hit in the neck with a bag of marbles;” “wipe my ass with an uncooperative rabbit;” and “watch VH1” were all high on Martin’s list of “things I’d rather do than stand in line for a nightclub"—he also raised weighty questions, like how long it took to make the first clock and whether homeless people have homies.

After the hour-and-a-half show, an audience member yelled from the balcony, “Wanna come to a party?” To an eruption of laughter from the audience, Martin asked, “Are there a lot of parties at the University of Chicago?”


Photo: Demetri Martin, a Yale alum who dropped out of law school to pursue a comedy career, is a Daily Show contributor and has hosted two Comedy Central specials.

Photo courtesy the Daily Show

November 19, 2007