Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"People and squirrels are very different. Most people will not argue that. But I find that there is one situation in which they're very similar. And that is: when I am driving towards them in my car."
--Demetri Martin

Man, a whole day with no blogging--and a Monday, no less! Given how active things have been lately, it must have seemed like the world was caving in.

In reality I've been cleaning--with Monopoly! down and an entire 6 days before ASAF, we're using some of this time to clean the house--laundry needed doing, dry cleaning, spring cleaning to our closets and such even though outside right now it looks nothing like spring at all.

All this week I'm going to see a lot of events around town, bulk-loading on shows before I descend back into work. Last night it was stand-up, with tickets courtesy of Ginger...we were at the UCB for an evening with Demetri Martin.

I know Demetri from Edinburgh, where we performed in the same space--my show was on immediately before his, and so we'd do change-over together. He's a very nice guy, and it was instructive and interesting to see someone going through a fame transformation right before my eyes--as that was the year that Demetri won the most prestigious comedy award in the UK, the Perrier award, for the show he was doing. I still remember how the first show he had a half-house and complained that no one seemed to understand his comedy. I told him that it would work out.

And it did--in spades. His second show was full, the reviews hit and he was sold out for the rest of the festival...they added shows everywhere, and it was still sold out. Every article was on Demetri, all the buzz was "DEMETRI!" and there was even some degree of a backlash movement, mainly consisting of "Demetri Haters" bitching and moaning that the comedy was too cerebral. When he won the Perrier it was a foregone conclusion, even though they almost never give that award to a non-Brit.

From our point of view it was a little hard to take--we had good houses, but they looked pitiful next to his massive lines, and considering that we came in with an Off-Broadway pedigree he cleaned our clocks, publicity-wise. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous--who wouldn't be?--but I was glad to see it wasn't that hard to control. After all, Demetri is a great guy, and the wheel spins for us all--and I like to have people I know do well, because it raises everyone's possibilities.

All that said, last night's show was slightly disappointing in that it wasn't an integrated "show" but rather disparate pieces of stand-up that he is polishing for the Melbourne Fringe. That said, Demetri is a very funny person--absurd, intelligent and penetrating, so that the hour whizzed by as he artfully knocked one observation after another out of the park. I prefer more narrative in my comedy, more arc, but I'm a monologuist. I did love the energy of the room, which was infectious, lively and YOUNG. So fucking YOUNG. What we're trying to do with my work obviously needs to bridge traditional theater and this--we need to bring ourselves to the young people, and the young people to us. I loved the room almost more than I did Demetri, but only almost--Demetri has a sly smile, and a knowing quality that rewards listening, and that is rare, rare, rare.

I hope his tour goes very well, but I'm sure it absolutely will, even if they don't get him on the first night.