Review: Demetri Martin, Arts Centre Melbourne

Thuy On

The Wandering Mind tour shows that the award-winning comic is a consummate laugh-maker.
Review: Demetri Martin, Arts Centre Melbourne

American comic Demetri Martin is back touring Australia and New Zealand after an 8-year hiatus, with his Wandering Mind show and never has a title been so apt. The award-winning stand-up comedian has a long and distinguished CV. He’s won awards at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, released comedy albums and starred in his own TV series. Oh and if that’s not enough, this multi-talented New Jersey-born comedian is also a successful fiction writer and film director. You’d just about hate him for his overachievements if he weren’t so damn funny. And Martin is very funny indeed. His one show only in Melbourne was at near capacity at the cavernous Hamer Hall, testament to his popularity.

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A fairly nondescript fellow, Martin’s particular schtick is one-liners delivered in a flat monotone with no overarching theme. He bounces around all over the place, making wry observations: ‘I wonder if leopards look trashy to other animals’, ‘Why don’t we wear shower caps in the rain?’. It makes little difference if one gag falls a bit flat; Martin’s next one will win you over again. His mischievous persona is endearing, whether that’s heckling museum security guards (he feels sorry for their being so bored) or his take on shoplifting (‘shop-shifting’ items from one place to another inside the store.)

A welcome addition to this show is a demon character responsible for processing miscreants into hell who takes his role very seriously.

A quibble though: given the expanse and expense of the venue, there should have been more thought given to providing Martin with high tech visual aid. One component involved him showing us some of his line drawings on paper but they were difficult, if not impossible to see for those of us in balconies or further back in the seats. A simple screen behind him that enlarged his doodles as he talked us through them would have been a vast improvement. Also, he is known to play a variety of instruments (keyboards, piano, harmonica, ukulele, glockenspiel…) it would have been great to show us a bit more of his musical talent aside from just the guitar.

Despite these minor detractions, Martin is in top form, a consummate professional laugh-maker.

4 stars out of 5 ★★★★

Demetri Martin – Wandering Mind Tour
Presented by Frontier Comedy
7 June 2019
Arts Centre Melbourne

Further tour dates and ticket prices here

About the author

Thuy On is a freelance literary journalist and critic and the books editor of The Big Issue.