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Important Things with Demetri Martin accomplishes a very difficult task: it manages to translate the style of an offbeat standup comedian into a coherent, funny and entertaining television show. The show combines the best parts of Martin’s shows, his off the cuff ideas of things he wants to do or create or invent, the doodling style of his sketch pad drawings surrounds many frames and transitions, and he maintains a good rapport with the audience throughout. It looks like a great show just to attend live. The format of one idea explored through the series of sketches and audience moments supports his manner nicely while giving the show a free but tangible shape.

Though he is not a favorite, I do appreciate the sensibilities Martin brings to his performances and he impressively maintains them in his show. Even more impressive is that they translate to and never clash with the format of a television program, as he is unique as a comedian. I doubt a lot of comics could pull off the same sort of transition while maintaining their identity so solidly in the show’ overall atmosphere.

Martin is also complemented with a good cast, especially his most frequent costar, the always underappreciated H. Jon Benjamin. Benjamin saves potentially poor sketches and elevates good ones to great just with his presence. Sketches like the “Passive Aggressive 500 Meter” really show off how solid his support is. Everyone in the sketch adds something to its premise to make it better.

All in all, Important Things with Demetri Martin is a well executed and uniquely crafted approach to a sketch comedy show. I’m glad to see a network, Comedy Central in this case, show enough confidence in a performer to give him such free reign to pursue his vision. 4 stars harrybadface.com

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