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February 23, 2018

Expect a politics-free performance from surrealist comic Demetri Martin

The idiosyncratic Martin will crack wise in his inimitable fashion when he delivers his personal brand of humor this weekend

Politics is a common topic for comics these days. However, Demetri Martin will not wax about President Donald Trump or anything else remotely political when he performs tomorrow night just outside of town. 

"I'm not that type of comic," Martin said while calling from his Los Angeles home. 

"It's an interesting time to be a political comic due to the polarity. But I don't talk about the outside world. I come from a different angle."

Martin, 44, who will perform Saturday at the Keswick Theater, connects with his cerebral approach to comedy. The Toms River native is often reminiscent of surreal humorist Steven Wright.

"I use this product called I Can't Believe It's Not Butter because sometimes when I'm eating toast, I like to be incredulous. How was breakfast? Unbelievable," he quipped. 

The laid back "Daily Show" alum appreciates the comparison with Wright. 

"Steven is such a great comic," Martin said. "To be mentioned along with him is an honor."

Like Wright, Martin also incorporates music into his comedy. 

"I've been doing that for almost 20 years," Martin said. 

"I like pulling out the guitar or playing the keyboards. I'm not doing it to be different. If it works, I'll do it. Look at how funny the Flight of the Conchords are. Music and comedy can work together. For me, there is a certain rhythm to jokes and there is rhythm to music. There is a common denominator. It just works for me. I discovered that the guitar, even if I just pick at it while I tell jokes, breaks up the monotony. It adds a different flavor to what I'm doing. It was just an experiment at first, and I discovered that it's fun to play guitar and deliver jokes."

Music has inspired Martin since he was a kid growing up in the '80s. 

"There was always music on in the house," Martin says. "I remember my dad playing Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond when I was really young. Now I always have music on in the background when I'm working on things. I have young kids and they're growing up hearing classical music."

Unlike many of his comic peers, Martin didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a stand-up comedian. Much like comics Paul Mecurio and the late Greg Giraldo, Martin went to law school. 

"There is a connection between comedy and law school," Martin said. 

"You don't need prerequisites. Law school is a great place for someone to go when you don't know where you fit."

While interning at "The Daily Show" during the late '90s, it became apparent that Martin hoped to work in comedy. He rose up the ranks quickly. Not many "Daily Show" interns become correspondents, but Martin's "Trendspotting" reports, which debuted in 2005, went over well. The deadpan comic graduated to his own Comedy Central show, "Important Things With Demetri Martin," which commenced in 2009.

Martin starred in the critically acclaimed Ang Lee film, "Taking Woodstock," which hit screens in 2009. Martin made his directorial debut with "Dean," which was released in June. Martin, who also starred in the film, earned raves from Rolling Stone.

"It's a nice career," Martin said. "I get to do what I enjoy. I get to work on projects but I also get to have fun doing my comedy. I also get to be with my family. I love the balance that I have."

Demetri Martin appears Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Keswick Theater, Easton Road and Keswick Avenue, Glenside, Pa. Tickets are $39.50. Show time is 8 p.m.