If you like random, short-attention-span riffs built on pithy comic premises, Martin's your man. If you delight in writing that deconstructs comedy even while constructing it, his self-aware style will appeal. And if you relish literary humor, This Is a Book is a book for you…Martin's absurdist wit has become distinctly his own, bearing fresh fruit even as the taproot stretches back decades.
The Washington Post
In this collection of essays, musings, and drawings, Comedy Central host Martin (Important Things with Demetri Martin) gently skewers contemporary social trends, conventions, and insecurities, taking on topics from social hotlines to family and relationships. With a gift for describing awkward situations, Martin challenges readers to recognize the human need for connection and recognition. The theme is seen in a panel in which a limousine displaying two flags on its hood is labeled "important"; another displaying seven flags is "very important." He also answers the big questions with essays like "Who I Am" in which he declares: "I am bravery. I am courage. I am valor. I am daring. I am holding a thesaurus." Throughout, Martin jokes in many guises, silly one moment, barbed the next, and he achieves a satirical brilliance that moves easily among surprising topics, like philosophy, to easy targets, like healthy lifestyles. (Apr.)
"This book embodies the essence of Demetri's comedy to perfection, which is a good thing since he wrote it. Silly but incredibly smart, it's exactly what puts me in awe of his work."
"When I first saw Important Things With Demetri Martin, I said to myself, "this is the funniest thing ever." I was wrong. This Is A Book is better." -Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success
"This book is so funny I forgot to laugh. I know that sounds like a childish criticism, but I mean it literally: This book is so funny, I forgot a whole bunch of thingswho I am, what I stand for, large chunks of my childhood, my sense of equilibrium, how to fall asleep, and when I'm supposed to laugh at things."-Chuck Klosterman
"Demetri Martin has a very funny and original mind. If I could draw a graph explaining how funny and original he is, I would. But I don't do that. Demetri does that."-Conan O'Brien
"Throughout, Martin jokes in many guises, silly one moment, barbed the next, and he achieves a satirical brilliance." -Publishers Weekly
"The best [material] would be at home in one of Woody Allen's classic books...Martin has energy to burn." -Kirkus
A grab-bag of one-liners, stories and cartoons from the hipster-favorite comic.
In his stand-up performances, Martin presents himself as the cheerier cousin of comedians like Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg, experts at simple, observational gags. His debut book is larded with plenty of that brand of Twitter-ready humor—e.g., "You never forget your first kiss. And that's what makes it so hard to forgive my uncle"; "Tell me again how a silver lining helps me?"; "100% of people who give 110% do not understand math." But Martin shines in the longer comic pieces. "Dad" is narrated by the grumpy child of a man who was raised by wolves. In a deleted scene fromA Christmas Carol, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect, leading to an entertaining riff on grammatical tenses. "Socrates's Publicist" imagines the deadly consequences of the Greek philosopher acquiring a chirpy PR rep eager to brand him and bring his "question thing" to a wider audience. The best, and longest, piece, which imagines a relationship in the afterlife, is so rich with ironic twists it would be at home in one of Woody Allen's classic books. Martin occasionally tries too hard—one piece makes too much of the phrase "green with envy" —but mostly he displays an enthusiasm for finding literate jokes wherever he can find them, from describing a person's schedule entirely in abbreviations to providing clues for a crossword puzzle in which the grid entirely filled with the letter A. Less successful are the dozens of simple doodles that stuff the book. When they're presented onstage by his deliberately stiff, AV-club–alumnus persona, the cartoons can be endearing. On the page, however, they mostly read like rejected Far Sidepanels.
Not every joke works, but Martin has energy to burn when it comes to mining linguistic absurdities for laughs.