If the common assertion among stand-up comedians is that truth is funny, then that wisdom has become nothing short of Demetri Martin’s mantra.

As proof, look to his opening joke this past Friday when he played to a sold-out Strong Auditorium – a large pad sits atop an easel, with the following words written on it: “large pad.”

But Martin, a regular on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” proved live what he has always been able to prove on television: that his straightforward, one-line approach to funny is nothing short of hilarious. The comic demonstrated not only the prowess to know what’s funny, but also how to play to a college crowd.

Martin’s performance kicked off with several of the drawings that have become a signature part of his act. At just 34-years- old, he’s got this about down to a science, strolling calmly, taking up the mic after setting his guitar down, whipping out a laser pointer and scanning the surrounding building to point out various flaws in its structure, including a very “shy balcony” (Strong’s uppermost level is deeply recessed) and “the gayest roadies ever,” in reference to the two cupids on the grates toward the front of the house.

Martin demonstrated early in his stand-up act that he cares to know his audience. While most comics who visit UR simply play around with “Meliora,” Martin showed he was well-versed in garbage plates and our new mascot.

“Is it in a worse mood? It was a friendly bee, and then someone took this school’s bee’s honey,” Martin said. Martin’s stand-up is a thing of beauty, a string of great one-liners interspersed with slightly longer jokes on any given topic. He possesses a phobia of transitions that make his stand-up play out like a stream of thought, switching from moving days to restaurant specials to printers without any of the changeover common among the average stand-up comedian.

His thought stream continued as he sat behind his keyboard and added a little melody, along with trying out some new material on a guinea-pig audience.

“I think a bad time to get amnesia would be Halloween.”

“I’ve met people who are passive-aggressive, but never aggressive-passive – ‘I don’t want a taco! Maybe.'”

“Homeless people have homies. That’s weird to me.”

Martin’s comedy is generally uncontroversial but not lacking edge – as demonstrated by his return to the large pad, showing a few of his charts, including a line graph showing that the more weed someone has, the more they resemble Jesus, up until they are on a cross, at which the resemblance drops off.

The biggest pleasure of the evening came with the unveiling of a few posters he created that he’d enjoy seeing hung up. My favorite: “Cat found – looks delicious. Call before Friday, after that, don’t bother.”

Martin also made a return to the guitar for a series of jokes, including one highly memorable song entitled “Me vs. You,” in which he created metaphors for himself and his opponents.

“Me: Angry rapper. You: English language.”

“Me: Teenage boy. You: sock.”

“Me: Real police. You: Campus police.”

“Me: AIDS. You: Someone with me.”

Martin finished the evening with 10 solid minutes of taking requests for his one-liners, which people happily shouted out (and, sadly, sometimes over the joke). But when a comedian is able to take requests like he were The Rolling Stones, that gesture proves something about him: Demetri Martin is, really, nothing short of a comic rock star, and his appearance at Strong marked a great and hilarious triumph for Winterfest Weekend.

Brenneman is a member of the class of 2009.

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