Demetri Martin’s “Telling Jokes in Cold Places” fulfills its promise

Demetri Martin entered the stage in Macky, sporting his recognizable mop-top, a solid black sweater, and New Balance sneakers.

“You look like Steve Jobs!” one audience member yelled when Martin asked how we were doing. Martin responded, laughing, that he had just thought the same thing backstage. Martin’s comedy tour, “Telling Jokes in Cold Places” came through Boulder, along with a blizzard, Thursday night.

Thursday night Demetri Martin came to Boulder with his comedy tour, Telling Jokes in Cold Places. (Courtesy: Demetri Martin)

Demetri Martin is best known for his TV show, “Important Things with Demetri Martin,” in addition to writing for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and a brief stint contributing to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

After roughly ten minutes of critiquing the interior of Macky Auditorium and setting down his sketchpad and iPhone, Martin informed the crowd,  “Don’t worry, I have jokes and stuff too.” Once Martin’s set began, it was so fluid that it was difficult to tell what he was making up as he went along and what were set jokes that he has rehearsed.

Martin’s irreverent observations touched on many topics, including automatic bathroom appliances, farting in first class, and people watching.

“I like people watching,” he said. “Mostly this one woman.”

His self-described “nerdy-dork humor” is both goofy and self-deprecating, which makes him very likable on stage. He joked about getting rejected by girls and how “automatic paper towel dispensers make you feel like a shitty magician.”

He flawlessly interacted with the audience and joked with them easily. “How are you guys doing? Can you get down? From here it looks like you’re trapped up there,” Martin asked the audience seated in the balconies.

After moving the crowd through seamless one-liners in quick succession, Martin moved to his sketchbook for part two of his set. Just like the drawings fans remember from his show “Important Things,” Martin’s drawings were visual puzzles, which he carefully took the audience through while adding punchlines.

A very popular drawing with the crowd was a line graph with one axis depicting how much a person looks like Jesus. The other axis measured the likelihood of that person having pot. Martin elaborated, “The chances of someone who looks like Jesus having pot raises steadily, to a point. If the guy is on a cross you may have the wrong guy.”

For the third segment of the show Martin played the guitar and harmonica while delivering more jokes such as, “At a battle of the bands competition, the loser is always the audience.”

Martin frequently asked the audience if they had any questions or anything to say. One person asked him about working for Conan. “One character that Conan really liked was a creature I invented with the head and torso of a man, but the legs of a table,” Martin said.

Levi MacDougall, the opening act, has appeared on Martin’s show “Important Things” in the past. MacDougall warmed up the crowd with cracks about growing up in Canada. “I grew up in Celsius air. It’s so Fahrenheit-y here.”

MacDougall got big laughs with goofy stories. Unlike Martin’s short punchlines, MacDougall draws out an anecdote and surprises you with its ending. He finished by building towards a party trick called the “Beer Unicorn,” which I will not reveal here.

Toward the end of Martin’s show he “interviewed” an audience member and remarked on being a college student in this economy. “Don’t worry, in this day and age none of your majors are easily employed.”

Shortly after, Martin came on for a well-deserved encore in which he delivered one palindrome, “Snub no man nice cinnamon buns,” and told two older jokes, much to the crowd’s pleasure, before sending everyone out into the snow.

Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Anne Robertson at

Anne Robertson

Anne is a senior advertising major and Entertainment Editor for the CUIndependent. She is a graphic designer in the UMC, graduating in May, and originally from Chicago. She likes microbrews, indie music and cartoons.

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