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on Tue, 02 Apr 2019
Award-winning American comedian and star of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Demetri Martin is heading across the pond to the UK in April 2019 as part of his brand new tour, Wandering Mind. Which will be heading to Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on Wednesday 17th April.
You’re bringing ‘Wandering Mind’ to the UK for 3 nights this April, are you looking forward to heading back to the UK?
I am looking forward to heading back to the UK very much. I’ve been gearing up for the shows and bracing myself for the travel. The last time I visited the UK was in 2011. At that time I lived in New York. Since then, I moved to California. And to make matters worse, I live up in a canyon. That makes it quite a hefty journey, but I’m sure it will be well worth it.
Your comedy has been described as ‘unconventional’ – do you agree with that and how would you describe it yourself?
I suppose parts of it are unconventional. I try to experiment with different ways of presenting material. At the same time, I build my show on one of the oldest forms of comedy: jokes. Jokes with setups and punchlines. I love short, well-structured jokes, and I still tell a lot of jokes in my show. But playing with the form as well as the content of my material makes it more interesting for me.
What can audiences expect from this show?
I’ll be there. I’ll be telling jokes that I wrote, some that I’ll improvise in the moment. I’ll be walking back and forth a bit. There will be drawings, music, well-timed pauses. All of it should be brand new for UK audiences.
Will you be bringing your instruments with you? Will there be any drawings involved in this show?
Yes. I will use at least one musical instrument per show and there will be more than 20 drawings per show.
You are touring this show in the US before bringing it to the UK. How do audiences differ between the two countries?
I find that the US audiences tend to be larger (per person) while the UK audiences tend to be harder to reach, mostly because I have not travelled to them for about 8 years now.
Do you have to change any of your content around for international shows?
Not too much. I have a feeling I’ll learn quickly which bits of content don’t work for international shows. That’s always an interesting surprise. And I’m using “interesting” in its most uncomfortable form.
Do you enjoy being on the road?
I enjoy being on stage, but I don’t enjoy being the road so much. I do try to see a lot of art when I’m on the road. That makes it a little bit more fun.
Do you get any downtime on tour? What do you do with your spare time?
I’m usually scheduled with little downtime on tour, but when I do have spare time I go to museums, galleries and bookstores. I’ve seen so much wonderful art over the years. It’s inspiring.
You won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2003. Would you ever want to perform at the Fringe again and what were you experiences of it?
I have such fond memories of my time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I performed at the festival in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. It was a thrilling, eye-opening experience for me. It was so challenging and educational for me. What I loved most about were the comedians I met and got to know. I saw so many shows and spent so much time with friends from all over the world. I think there is nothing else like it. I would like to perform at the Fringe again someday. I don’t know when I’ll be able to, but I think about it often, usually every August.
Your latest Netflix special ‘The Overthinker’ came out last year (2018), how was the experience of doing this and would you like to do more?
I had a good experience making the special. Netflix have been great to work with. I had some specific ideas about how I wanted to shoot and edit the special going into it, and I was able to execute those ideas when it came time to make the special. I feel lucky to have a platform where I can share my material and experiment a little bit with how I present it. I hope to make more standup specials. I find that working towards a standup comedy special makes touring more enjoyable. I like the feeling that my live shows are leading to a “document” of sorts of my comedy at that time. Even though it is ultimately all so fleeting, it’s nice to feel like there is something people can find about my work if they’re interested.
You’ve also written and directed your own feature film, would you like to do more of this in the future?
I was happy to make my first feature film. I’ve had several ideas brewing for years. Now that I’ve made one film and had an opportunity to direct I’m even more excited to make feature films. It certainly takes a lot of time and work to even get a picture set up, but the experience of telling stories and working with people in that medium is so different from doing standup comedy. I love it. I’m working on my next script now. I look forward to making the film, no matter how challenging it might be.
What are your plans for when your tour ends?
I’m going to sit around my house a lot and lie down too. Then I’m going to finish writing a book of short fiction that was due two years ago. It’s taken a while, but I think the stories are finally coming together. I plan to do that work in a sitting-down and lying-down position, whenever possible.
Demetri Martin will perform Wandering Mind at Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on Wednesday 17th April. Tickets are on sale now from demetrimartin.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk