Another Meliora weekend has passed, and as the university stows away the nice furniture until next year, we have the chance to reflect on the weekend’s entertainment. This year saw the performance of Demetri Martin as the comedy act.
I don’t know whether CAB has stepped their game up and improved the programming for Mel weekend over the years, or I’m just appreciating it more and more as a senior, but this year’s act was actually quite good.
In fact, sitting in the Palestra before the show, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness at the thought that this was my last Mel weekend. Of course, the sentimental Beatles music and the cliché U of R slideshow didn’t help.
Needless to say, by the time the show started I was rather bummed out and in need of some comic relief. Thankfully Martin and company provided just that.
The show was opened by Canadian comedian Levi McDougall who started off slowly but gradually gained momentum. McDougall was actually quite funny; he had a quirky, awkward, random style of comedy that was a unique hybrid of sarcasm and silliness.
At some points his jokes transitioned into truly bizarre categories. One instance was such as when he told a joke about how Navy Seals hide underwater beneath pieces of Swiss cheese. I have certainly never heard anything like that before. McDougall’s unique comedy style was refreshing and, just as any good opening act is supposed to do, warmed the audience up for the feature performer.
When Martin took the stage, the audience was ready for his deadpan delivery, sarcasm, and ponderous musings.
As somebody who usually goes for the more risqué, raunchy, and downright inappropriate standup comedians (think Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, and Jim Jefferies), I was refreshed to find that Martin’s comparatively tame and dry humor was actually quite funny.
Martin looked comfortable on stage and proceeded through his routine nonchalantly, jumping from topic to topic as if he was just improvising his routine off the top of his head.
His comedy was largely observational and at times employed a type of surreal humor with comedic non-sequiturs delivered in a flat and unaffected way.
In the second half of Martin’s routine he pulled out a large sketch pad and used silly drawings to accompany his comedy. This techniques was actually quite effective as this method created anticipation on part of the audience, and this anticipation served to amplify Martin’s deadpan punch lines.
The particular highlight of this section for me came when Martin showed a graph charting the social acceptability of laughing and peeing in various social circumstances. Peeing alone is ok, but a group of people laughing and peeing together is fairly crazy.
Finally, Martin closed his show with a musical comedy section which saw him telling jokes in between acoustic guitar and harmonica interludes.
While Martin displayed that he has some musical background and proficiency with these instruments, I couldn’t really see the comedic effect of the musical accompaniment. Compared to Matt Griffo, whom I saw perform an impromptu gay love serenade for a middle- age, straight, married audience member at this year’s Fringe Festival, Martin’s musical comedy fell a bit flat.
Overall, I enjoyed Martin’s performance. I was laughing through the whole show. Who knows what next year will hold; I’m simply sad that I won’t be around to see it.
McCoy is a member of the class of 2014.