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Herc Says Jon Stewart’s IMPORTANT THINGS WITH DEMETRI MARTIN May Be Comedy Central’s Funniest Sketch Series Ever!!

I am – Hercules!!
“Important Things” star and creator Demitri Martin – a alumnus of Yale, NYU law school, Conan O’Brien’s writers room and “The Daily Show” (Jon Stewart produces “Important Things”) – creates brainy, clever, enormously original and, above all, hilarious comedy. He deftly employs musicianship and copious visual aids, and appears to have little use for current events or politics. He reminds me a lot of Steve Martin (no relation), and also comedians like Steven Wright and Rich Hall. The new show teams Martin with the also-hilarious actor-writer Jon Benjamin (who contributed heavily to “Dr. Katz,” “Home Movies” and “Lucy, Daughter of the Devil”). Based on its first two episodes, I’m ready to judge “Things” one of Comedy Central’s best shows, and likely the channel’s funniest original sketch show to date. The first minute of one of the premiere’s sketches:
That's not the entire sketch; it gets better as it builds. Another longish sketch in the premiere, about an actor having difficulty conveying anger on a movie set, is a little too long and simplistic for its own good. (The sketch also stars famous actress Amanda Peet, which I’m guessing is why it wasn’t cut.) If you don’t find tonight’s episode at least a little funny, I implore you to make a point to catch next week’s installment. Episode two boasts among its many virtues a brilliantly rendered piece about a new rat-extermination system. There’s also a great sketch about a superhero called The Revenger, a Batman-like figure who learns his father’s death – the event which drives him to exact brutal justice – may have been the result of natural causes. If you’re not hooked by the second installment of this 6-episode series, I gratefully release you back into the arms of “Tim & Eric,” “Chocolate News,” or whatever other sketch show you deem superior. Just know I laughed a lot. The Los Angeles Times says:
… the sketches are on the whole less funny than the stand-up, but they have their moments, and the show is on the whole worthwhile. What it is not -- unlike much comedy -- is chummy. …
The Chicago Tribune says:
… feather-light, funny … shares a sensibility with HBO’s similarly dry yet silly “Flight of the Conchords,” on which Martin has appeared … some comedians attempt to hold on to their audiences by bellowing loudly or otherwise shocking them. Martin's subversive approach is to implant his witty concepts deep in your brain, so that you're still thinking about them hours later.
The Washington Post says:
… Think the deadpan Steven Wright, only cheerier and more versatile. A stand-up comic and sometime cartoonist, Martin seems cursed with endless postgraduate cleverness. His is a comic mind that needs room to roam. Fortunately, that's precisely what this new project -- a studio-stand-up/taped-skits/animated-bits/musical-ditty hybrid -- offers. …
The Newark Star Ledger says:
… very funny …
The Boston Globe says:
… If you follow in Martin's tracks, and I recommend that you do, you'll find yourself standing in some mind-bending and even erudite places. He'll have you playing little games with the universe. … Does it all sound too clever, too meta? Martin's low-key ease protects "Important Things" from getting mired in preciousness. His deadpan is warm, and sometimes he actually smiles. He's 35, but he comes across like a kid who's reached that age when he challenges his parents' instructions like a little lawyer, taking apart their words to point out the loopholes. But he seems like a happy kid, too, and one that can make you smile.
Entertainment Weekly says:
… Things just makes you realize how much Martin owes to one-liner, conceptual forebears like Steven Wright and the late Mitch Hedberg. And not in a good way — Martin isn't as sharp as those guys. Too bad, because he is a droll, disarming fellow. …
USA Today says:
… a haphazard collection of jokes, skits and his trademark sketches that feels amateurish and unformed. It's unclear whether he's not ready or the format isn't right, but either way, he's being ill-served by the show. …
Variety says:
… Both his delivery and the show improve in installment No. 2, and one could make a case that by the time the season wraps up, he may have found his comedic groove ... if only he would blink occasionally. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… even at its worst, "Important Things" carries a smart sensibility and a swagger that prove consistently endearing. …
10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Comedy Central.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 11, 2009, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Overplayed the living fuck out of that commercial

    by gruntybear

    I might have had an interest in this new sketch comedy show until Comedy Central fucking drilled that floppy-haired douchetool's face into my consciousness with their relentless playing of those stupid commercials. End. Right. The Fuck. Now.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Is it better than his standup?

    by Savage Lucy

    Because his standup was just painful to watch

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Demetri Martin

    by Mr Ages

    please take your seat over here with Christopher Titus, Carlos Mencia, and Paula Poundstone at the fail table.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Hey Herc, Don't downgrade Tim & Eric

    by skimn

    to put Martin on a pedestal. I've enjoyed his stand up, and his bits on The Daily Show, and look forward to the series. Nice shout out to Rich Hall. I remember his appearances on Not Necessarily The News and his Sniglets. He did a nice short film for SNL, during his brief time there, where he attached the rubber flooring in front of an automatic door opener on the soles of his shoes. A brilliant little bit.<p>Tim & Eric are on a whole different realm of absurdist comedy though, and I know either you love them or hate them.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Can't watch this, Martin is soooo hipster

    by rhcp2sweet

    it pisses me right off. I watched his stand up special and didn't laugh once.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Martin is an amusing fellow....

    by rben

    not sure if he's the laugh out loud type and i doubt that his show will touch my top three: Python, SCTV and kids in the hall but that is an impossible plateu to attain. also, 35? i thought he was like 19 or 20 tops. he has dick clark genes (except without his voice obviously)

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 6:10 p.m. CST


    by Christopher3

    USA Today says: "I'm old! I don't fucking get it!"

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 7:17 p.m. CST

    They're trying way too hard to sell it.

    by _Maltheus_

    That means it probably isn't good enough to stand on its own. That clip above, doesn't exactly inspire me to watch it either. Post a funny one next time Herc. I'm shocked that he's 35 though. I don't think I've ever seen anyone that old with one of these teenage haircuts. In fact, I'm not sure that the Boston Globe has it's facts straight on that one.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 7:35 p.m. CST

    AB... SOL...UTELY.

    by LordEnigma

    Yeah. It's great. Sure thing, boss.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 8:36 p.m. CST

    How is that kid 35 years old?

    by blackmantis

    He must've stolen Dick Clark's youth elixir. Explains his recent stroke!

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Glad it is finally on...

    by jccalhoun

    I'm glad it is finally on because I'm sick as hell of seeing commercials for the show. Now maybe they can stop advertising it so much.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 9 p.m. CST

    Saw part of it: the bit with the sketch pad was great

    by chromedome

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 9:12 p.m. CST

    had a good bit part...

    by Loosejerk

    in The Rocker. Yes, I watched it.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Better than Almost Live?

    by RenoNevada2000

    This High-Fivein' White Guy doesn't think so.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Seen Demetri Martin. Person.

    by Amy Chasing

    It was ok. Not hilarious. Maybe he's gotten better. It wouldn't be hard.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 10:05 p.m. CST

    wow. pretentious hipster reviewers like a pretentions hipster.

    by jccalhoun

    That was really lame. Almost makes me long for Root of All Evil...

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Has potential

    by Hamtaro Hentai

    I like his standup a lot, Kind of like Mitch Hedberg lite. Show was ok, looking forward to next week.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Time Gigolo

    by kyle051554

    Heh. Someone's gonna get a new GamerTag!

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 10:24 p.m. CST

    that wasn't as funny as I thought it would be...

    by ironic_name

    does not bode well.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 10:38 p.m. CST

    Prop comics suck.

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    And Carrot Top could kick this guys ass.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 10:52 p.m. CST

    No way its better than Chappelle Show...

    by Sakurai

    I am sorry, I just cant believe that Herc.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Yale? NYU Law School?

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    Shit, if somebody told him "don't quit your day job," I suspect he'd probably still be making some fucking incredible money.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 11:24 p.m. CST

    And I love the "lowly" humor of Tim and Eric

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    But I guess Reilly, Odenkirk, Cross, Galifinakis, and fucking Patton Oswalt were dragged on the show against their will.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 11:29 p.m. CST

    "Comedy Central’s Funniest Sketch Series Ever!!"--??

    by Bob Cryptonight

    That ain't saying much.

  • Feb. 11, 2009, 11:41 p.m. CST

    I don't really like watching him act

    by George Newman

    his stand up delivery is just so much more satisfying. the skits were fine. it was a nice show. I just prefer his stand-up.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 3:41 a.m. CST

    Like Martin, love Benjamin

    by JuanSanchez

    This show really should be funnier.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 4:59 a.m. CST

    Better than Chappelle's Show? Are you fucking insane?

    by drturing

    Seriously. Or maybe just really, really white.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 7:12 a.m. CST

    decent show so far

    by palewook

    comedy central are being pure fucktards though with the edited clips being the only thing you can see online. <p> the brilliance of this show comes from his whole skit which might be 5 minutes long. seeing just the punchline or the setup in a 30-90 second clip wrecks the full impact. <p> FU 2 comedy central for not putting the entire episode online.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 7:40 a.m. CST

    I echo drturing... Better than Chappelle's Show? WTF!?

    by turketron

    I seriously doubt that, but I will give it a chance. The commercials annoyed the shit out of me though. I shall scour the torrents for this when I get home.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 9:02 a.m. CST

    A little hit and miss, but more laughs in a half hour

    by skimn

    than a whole season of SNL. I know, not saying much. But is head and shoulders above CC's rehab show spoof, reality show spoof, Drawn Together (I know it has its fans tho), and David Allen Grier tries SO DAMN HARD to be Chappelle that Chocolate News is a pale imitation.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Oh, and Dimitri Martin is the Greek love child

    by skimn

    of Bob Costas and Dick Clark? Explains his age.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST

    I like him

    by haggardatbest

    but he should just sign his paychecks over to Steven Wright, Zach Galifianakis, and whoever gets Mitch Hedberg's money (still Lynn?). And funniest C.C. sketch show ever? Surely funnier than Mencia (a fruit basket on stage would be too) but funnier than Chappelle's Show? Please.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 11:37 a.m. CST


    by frozen01

    "the sketches are on the whole less funny than the stand-up"<p> Considering the fact that the Dimitri Martin's stand-up isn't really all that funny (chuckle-worthy, but that's about it), this is kind of saying something. I have no beef with Mr. Martin, though... he does provide some light-hearted comedy, it's just not bust-your-gut (or even really laugh-out-loud) funny.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by oisin5199

    I don't know, I thought that special was pretty damn funny, and way more creative than 99% of the standup comedy shows they play on CC.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    "Kind of like Mitch Hedberg lite"

    by frozen01

    REALLY, really lite! <p>RIP Mitch

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Mencia/Root of All Evil

    by frozen01

    Mencia was hilarious for the first few episodes. Then it got old, and fast. <p>Root would have been funnier if it hadn't been so damn obvious that they were reading from a prompter. I'm a big Lewis Black fan, so I was really hoping that show would go somewhere, but unfortunately it didn't :o\

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 1:58 p.m. CST

    C'mon don't be so hard on Martin

    by skimn

    CC's biggest draw lately is the ventriloquist with the talking Mexican pepper. And people complain about Mencia? Its 2009 and a ventriloquist making "hand-up-my-ass" jokes is a top draw...

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Funny, but I still miss Mitch.

    by Hamtaro Hentai

    Mitch Hedberg's death was probably the best thing to happen to Demetri Martin's career. Mitch left a definite void. That's not taking anything away from Demitri, I do enjoy his standup a lot, and I appreciate him for his use of musical instruments during comedy (heck, that already makes him better than most out today) better than hacks like Carrot Top. I like his use of the drawing board, that is unique and it is NOT prop comedy.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 5:05 p.m. CST

    funny, not funnIEST

    by gavdiggity

    Chapelle's Show is still the best sketch comedy CC has ever aired. I like Martin, I enjoyed the first episode of this show quite a bit, but I think Chapelle's still the champ.

  • Feb. 12, 2009, 6:02 p.m. CST

    "I hate get well soon cards. Fuck that...get well NOW"

    by BadMrWonka

    Demetri Martin is a seriously funny standup...I missed this show, but I'm sure it's worthwhile...