Demetri Martin named his album Standup Comedian because he's the kind of guy who tells jokes while standing up, and while dry titles (his 2006 effort was These Are Jokes) still apply here, his stories are pleasingly looser on this 2012 release, making him all the more connectable. Don't get that twisted because he's still the oddly soft, somewhat distant, twee dude in a Beatles haircut who seems to prefer hugs over drugs and medium cool over totally cool, but that "acquired taste" tag is fading on cuts like "Senses, Halloween," a great track that's a simple series of jokes about everyday things: long-term relationships, pet costumes, and other topics Jim Gaffigan might tackle. There's even an "oh no he didn't" moment when Martin calls out all view-blocking "assholes" who whip out phones at concerts, and when he drops "I like people watching" -- perfectly timed pause -- "mostly this one woman," those Steven Wright-styled zingers have a more dangerous edge than before, like a wolf in sheepish clothing. "When someone describes themselves as a taxpayer, they're about to be an asshole" is about as political as it gets, and the strange journey that "Silent Letters" takes while making up words is a quaint and wonderfully weird reminder of why the man's Comedy Central show, Important Thing with Demetri Martin, felt so sharp and new. Bringing up the rear is the fun and very ferry "Guitar, Jokes" (strum, strum, strum "OK, I think that's in tune enough for comedy"), which is an "American Pie"-sized suite with acoustic tones, mournful harmonica, and absurd thoughts ("I lost my fog machine because I left it running"). Same cute, same high quality, and same quirky means the fans get their fill, and with a little more everyman and a little less awkward, Standup Comedian makes for an entry point into his "Yep"-flavored and "OK"-tastic body of work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries