From law to laughs: Demetri Martin’s path to comedy

Goofy, guitar-toting Demetri Martin has amused audiences across America with his silly antics and various uses of props.

The comic, who hails from New York City, chatted with The State Press via email to talk about his career path and give a glimpse of the life of a comedian.


The State Press: What would you say have been your biggest challenges in your profession?


Demetri Martin: I would say my biggest challenges have been:

1. Finishing all of the projects that I start, because I don’t manage my time very well.

2. Promoting myself, because I don’t like to do it.

3. Finding good food when I’m on tour, because it’s almost impossible.

4. Coming up with good endings to lists, because I sometimes end them like this.


SP: How did people react when you went from studying law to becoming an entertainer?


DM: People were mostly unsupportive and disapproving. At the time, I thought that was sh—ty. But now I can see that their disapproval was helpful.

It helped me learn to make decisions that weren’t based on other people’s reactions. And that freed me up to pursue stand-up comedy, a profession that is based almost entirely on other people’s reactions.


SP: How did you get started in your career?


DM: I started by doing open mic stand-up shows in New York City. I did temp jobs during the day to get money for food and rent. I spent a lot of time walking around and writing jokes.


SP: What qualities make you different than other modern comedians?


DM: All of my qualities.


SP: Do you have any pre-performance rituals? If so, what are they?


DM: I don’t really have pre-performance rituals, but sometimes I will perform a “ceremony” in which I “sacrifice” a cheese sandwich.


SP: Which gig has been your favorite one so far?


DM: Hm… I’m not sure. It’s definitely one of the ones where people were so moved by my performance that they carried me out of the theater on their shoulders. That’s only happened a few times so far.


SP: If you weren’t currently a comedian, what would you be?


DM: Frustrated.


Martin will perform at ASU Gammage on April 21. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the show starts at 7:00 p.m. Visit to purchase tickets.


Reach the reporter at


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