Demetri Martin: Wandering Mind | Gig review by Steve Bennett at The Wilbur, Boston
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Demetri Martin: Wandering Mind

Gig review by Steve Bennett at The Wilbur, Boston

Demetri Martin writes some of the best jokes in the business: elegant and intricate twists of thought and language, crafted with precise skill and ingenuity.

There are delightful, dense clusters of such gems in Wandering Mind tour, not least in the volley of witty one-liners he sets to the gentle strumming of his guitar by way of a climax.

Yet the gig also suffers issues of momentum, with many noticeable lulls. His lowish-energy approach is a perfect when it comes to giving the audience space to digest one of his ornate morsels of logical absurdity, but proves a hinderance when he’s just noodling about with ideas or indulging in some unremarkable crowd work about some guy’s wedding. Such moments give  the show some texture, providing an in-the-moment looseness his tautly-written nuggets never can, but they pale in comparison.

It means that times, his Wandering Mind tour – which had been touring the world pre-Covid and now resumes in the US – can feel like a work in progress; a comedian finding his way back to his mojo after the enforced layoff. These segments stand in marked contrast to those trademark one-liners that cast common ideas into unexpected new light with exquisite craftsmanship.

The mop-topped comic – who leans into his Beatles look with a pre-gig Fab Four playlist – is probably best known for the gags that come with a visual aid, sketches and cartoons crudely drawn on his artist’s pad. He crack out the easel here, as you’d hope, for a parade of visual gags that are surprisingly hit-and-miss - before revealing a clever twist to the format. Even if a gag is a little flat you have to admire the intellectual endeavour.

Any comedian would be delighted to have 45 minutes of gold Martin has here. The only problem is he show is about twice that length. Once it’s cut into a Netflix special – if there is one coming to follow up 2018’s perfectly named The Overthinker – it’ll surely shine.

Demetri Martin: Wandering Mind tours the US through to April. Dates

Review date: 17 Jan 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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