In the vein of contemporaries like Zach Galifianakis and Bo Burnham but with a style all his own, comedian Demetri Martin stretches the boundaries of the standup form into something resembling performance art. Incorporating musical instruments, video, and props including jumbo sketch-pad drawings into his jokes, he developed both his unorthodox approach and wide-eyed, deadpan delivery during the late '90s and early 2000s. Martin soon expanded his fan base on Comedy Central, first as a giddily clueless reporter on The Daily Show, then with his own series, Important Things with Demetri Martin (2009-2010). He topped the Billboard comedy chart for the first time with his third comedy album, 2012's Standup Comedian.
Born in New York City in 1973 and raised in Toms River, New Jersey, Demetri Martin graduated from Yale University before dropping out of law school at NYU to pursue comedy. His first break onto television came in 2001 with an appearance on Comedy Central's Premium Blend. After his 2003 one-man show If I... won an award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the world's best showcases for alternative comedians, Martin spent a period on the writing staff at Late Night with Conan O'Brien while preparing his first TV comedy special. That 2004 special, Comedy Central Presents: Demetri Martin, featured acting roles by Martin's mother and grandmother; his grandmother also played a role in his first home video and audio release, These Are Jokes, issued in September 2006. Also in 2006, Martin scored a major TV gig on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, acting as "senior youth correspondent," a loving sendup of clichés about The Daily Show's average college-aged viewer. In early 2007, These Are Jokes peaked at number three on the comedy albums chart and hit the Top 40 of Billboard's independent albums chart.
In 2009, he launched the sketch comedy series Important Things with Demetri Martin on Comedy Central, with a second, final season airing in 2010. Between the seasons, Martin starred as the main character in Ang Lee's 2009 film Taking Woodstock. He returned to comedy albums and the Comedy Central record label in 2012 with the aptly titled Standup Comedian. His popularity still rising, he appeared on the bill alongside comedians such as Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari, and Sarah Silverman as part of the touring Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival in 2013 and 2014. Recorded at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C., his standup special Live (At the Time) premiered on Netflix in 2015.
Martin made his directorial debut with the comedy-drama Dean, a film he also wrote and starred in. It premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, winning the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature before arriving in theaters in 2017. The following year, Live (At the Time) received a multi-format release by 800 Pound Gorilla. ~ Marcy Donelson & Stewart Mason