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Important Things with Demetri Martin -- An early look - VIDEOS

by Nick Zaino, posted Feb 10th 2009 5:25PM
Demetri MartinIf you've been watching Comedy Central, you may have noticed one of the roughly several thousand ads for the new show, Important Things with Demetri Martin. We also gave you a glimpse of it last week. All the hype can sometimes be a sign of a show in need of propping up. Not so with Important Things. I got a hold of two episodes in advance, and the show is worth watching, or DVRing, if you're one of those people who sometimes leaves the house. The show premieres February 11 at 10:30 PM.

Martin is a talented comedian whose act is built around offbeat one-liners (in the tradition of Steven Wright and, later, Mitch Hedberg). But he's also an artist and musician, incorporating his drawings (through and easel onstage) and songwriting into his stage act. Important Things is a great extension of that, allowing Martin to animate some of his drawings or pay attention to details that couldn't be seen onstage (like a view of the letter "R" from behind that shows its tiny "R" butt), in addition to musical pieces and sketch comedy.

The concept is simple enough, but hard to grasp from the ads. Each episode, Martin takes one subject and writes the whole show around it. The two I got were "Timing" and "Power." There is an opening monologue section, simply called "Jokes" (although he considers two other options every time, like "Watch a Watch" or "Fight a Cougar," which he explains would be a real cougar an not an older lady).

From "Timing":
I wonder if there were any Goths in Gothic times. Be like, 'You look completely appropriate. You don't look stupid or lonely at all.'

From "Power":
Man is the most powerful creature on the planet. And we're arrogant. I mean, people own birds. It's like, there's a creature with the gift of flight. I want it. I'm going to put it in my kitchen and make it crap on old information.

In each episode I previewed, there was at least one hilarious short filmed sketch.

In "Timing," Martin plays an actor opposite Amanda Peet, trying to work up his anger for an emotional scene. But he can only work up the necessary froth when the cameras aren't rolling. He finally gets it, but I'm trying to write this spoiler-free.

"Timing" also features "Jerry Pappas: Time Gigolo," in which Martin goes back in time to proposition Betsy Ross posing as the head of the flag design committee.

In "Power," the best sketch is a fight between two wannabe tough guys over a parking space, which is paused at certain points, when information boxes pop up to tell us about the combatants (both, as it turns out, are Labradoodle owners, and one wears a friendship bracelet). Not coincidentally, Martin's stand-out co-star is H. Jon Benjamin, who also played the voice of Ben in Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist. He plays the director in the acting scene in "Timing," and the bracelet-wearing tough guy in the parking sketch. He's also the guy making kissy faces at an old lady passing a park bench and the upset self-castrated cult follower in the commercials.

There is an amazing sequence in "Timing" where Martin plays guitar, bells, and keyboards simultaneously while flipping pages on his easel to reveal some of his drawings and one liners (comparing and contrasting a button and a pepperoni pizza, and a sunset and a bald man hiding behind a table, for example). It goes to show what Martin can do when his imagination is given free reign. And if that happens consistently on Important Things, it'll be around for a while.

And since we've already shown you the preview clip, here's a clip Amoeba Music in Hollywood, with a bit of insight into Martin's music tastes.

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Are You Serious?

"This will be around for a long time..."
How much pot did you smoke while watching the advanced episodes?


February 12 2009 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You sold me. I wasn't going to tivo.

February 10 2009 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone know how to get these advance episodes?

February 10 2009 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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