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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Demetri Martin: The Joke Machine

Apr 01, 2024 07:00AM ● By Suzie Agrillo
Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin

Comedian Demetri Martin is bringing his highly acclaimed “The Joke Machine” tour to the Fox Tucson Theater on April 6, and he will make you laugh! Martin took the road less traveled in his comedy career.

He went to Yale as an undergraduate and was accepted at Harvard Law School. Martin chose to attend New York University instead, as he was awarded a full scholarship. After his second year, he quit, because he found something he genuinely enjoyed—standup comedy.

A rising star, Martin’s popularity has grown exponentially as more people hear his act and are captivated by his unconventional humor. He entertains his audiences with funny one-liners, observational humor, drawings, guitar—and even the harmonica.

Martin is the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, including the coveted Perrier Award at the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, and Australia’s Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The multifaceted Martin is also a talented writer and director. He stars on the big screen in the film Dean, which won the Founder’s Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. He has released five comedy specials, including The Overthinker, and his latest on Netflix, Demetri Deconstructed.

Martin is currently one of the hottest tickets in comedy. An offbeat, likeable performer, his clever humor is relatable to any audience.

Q&A with Comedian Demetri Martin

What made you choose comedy over a career in law?
For me there’s a big overlap I can see in hindsight. I like logical thinking, and playing with assumptions/conclusions in law, all of which translate into joke telling. I didn’t enjoy the repetition. I was like, “This is it?” And I’m not adversarial.

You started comedy when you were 24 and now, you’re 50. How has your comedy evolved?
At this point I’ve lived more years of my life doing comedy than not. I’m in my bonus round. I’ve gotten better at music and drawing and use both of them in my comedy.

Who makes you laugh?
My all-time inspiration and favorite is Steven Wright. I love his creativity and how economical his jokes are. Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin, Rita Rudner, Richard Pryor, John Early and Kate Berlant are also favorites.

Why should people buy tickets for The Joke Machine tour?
I get the highest laughs per minute. I’m one of the “densest” comedians. I do some improv and crowd work, and I work hard to make the show tight with a lot of creative jokes. With VIP tickets, you’ll get great seats, and at the meet and greet, I actually talk to and get to know people a bit, not just take pictures. There will also be a wide selection of merch available for purchase at the show, thanks to my designer wife.

How do you deal with hecklers?
I can usually handle hecklers by having a comeback. If you’ve been doing comedy for a long time, it’s not always like a fair fight. They don’t have the advantage, although some are more original and formidable than others.

What’s next on your career horizon?
I have a new standup special on Netflix, Demetri Deconstructed, coming out April 2nd—the first of a comedy trilogy. The show at the Fox Theatre will have all new material and will be like a dress rehearsal for me. It’s the last performance I have before the second special of the trilogy, which I’m shooting on April 13th in Denver.

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring comedians?
On the material end of it, I think having a regular practice of writing down and capturing your ideas pays dividends. Looking at an idea after time has passed can yield a lot. There’s something very hopeful about the potential of any idea.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“He who seeks beauty will find it.” - Bill Cunningham. What you pay attention to and how you look at things affect your life so much.

What books are you reading right now?
Digital Minimalism is on my nightstand now. The Dictionary. I also like Jaron Lanier, an author who writes about social media. He’s kind of like a tech philosopher and he’s really interesting.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?
“Watch out!” You know, like when a car was coming towards me.
Live Nation Presents Demetri Martin, The Joke Machine, on April 6 at 7:30pm, at the Fox Tucson Theatre.

Suzie Agrillo is a freelance writer in Tucson, and a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. She focuses on writing about the arts, inspirational people and human connection. Connect at [email protected].