Wisecracker: Yale Graduate Demetri Martin Leaves ’em Laughing at Bridges Auditorium

Comedian Demetri Martin wasted no time interacting with his Bridges Auditorium audience on Thursday, March 2, during a pleasantly warm break from his 2012 Telling Jokes in Cold Places tour. “Where are you from?” he asked one of many fans he bantered with throughout the evening. “Upland?” he repeated aloud. “I should have done some research. Hmm. I don’t know where that is. But I’m guessing it’s not at sea level.”

Martin let it be known, however, that he knew a thing or two about Claremont, and called the city charming. Earlier that day, he had enjoyed a meal at the Village Grille and had popped into neighboring shops, including the Folk Music Center (news alert: he plays guitar). In the dark of Bridges hours later, beneath the historical, gold and silver zodiac paintings on the misty-blue auditorium’s ceiling, Martin got more laughs. Gazing up, he said he felt like he was looking at a coffeehouse commuter cup.

Although college students accounted for most of the night’s laughter, the audience also included at least several children, teenagers, and their parents. That’s likely because Martinwho has named Steven Wright and Bill Cosby as influencesis a little smarter and softer on the ears than the stand-ups who rely on raunchy, rapid-fire expletives and explicit material for their gigs. Not that Martin’s night was free of blush-worthy moments or four-letter words, but his style is arguably more family-friendly. Like this: I wish there was a comma in front of my name, so that people would have to pause before they say it If you see someone smell their hand, there’s never a good story behind it If I owned a copy store, I would only hire identical twins I wish they would call the news What’s Wrong’ When I trip, I feel like it’s the world saying, Hey, come here for a sec’ If I was a chiropractor, I’d wear a karate suit

The night progressed with a few factoids about the funny man. Like, although he graduated from Yale and was accepted to NYU’s School of Law on a full scholarship, he dropped out after two years to try comedy. (“My parents were really proud,” Martin said sarcastically. “It was like, finally! A broke comedian in the family!”)

When asked where he liked to shop, Martin said bookstores. He also likes camping out in coffee shops to write new material and people-watch (a revelation that led to a shtick about fliers on coffee shop bulletin boards). About halfway through the evening, the performer got a round of cheers when he stood at an easel and drawing pad, pointing to doodles and words he’d drawn that served as jokes and punch lines. It’s a maneuver that has become part of his comedic identity. He also grabbed a guitar at the end of the show and played arguably wellto the degree you hoped he’d sing, not just speak more jokes over the strumming chords.

Martin, who released his first book, This Is a Book last spring, reportedly was slated to portray the part in Moneyball that went to Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill. He is perhaps best known for his work as a stand-up comedian and contributor on The Daily Show, and for his Important Things with Demetri Martin show on Comedy Central. Asked what’s next for the comic, Martin mentioned an upcoming part in an indie film and a possible animated series for Fox.