Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Wonderful--Demetri Martin's This is a Book

As you know, we seem to like the smartypants comics.  We often get to the gig of selling books at Pabst and Riverside events and I find myself, more often than not, reading the books. Whether it's Sarah Silverman* or Mike Birbiglia, they seem to get really intelligent comics.  Now I know you're wondering when Tina Fey is appearing, but alas, she's not on the schedule.  Patton Oswalt is, at the Pabst Theater on May 6, and though we aren't signed up, I can't resist sending you to the Pabst Riverside box office for tix, as I know it's going to be a great show.  His new book is Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, as regular visitors to this blog are well aware.

But I think my dream event right now is not selling Bossypants for Tina Fey (I don't dream that big, you've got to think baby steps when you're a bookseller, at least when you're one in Milwaukee) but Demetri Martin, whose new book, This is a Book, arrived yesterday.  He's actually been to town prior to the book's release, and it seems like something the they'd book into the Pabst or Riverside.

I've been enchanted by Martin since I ran into him, strumming his guitar and drawing doodles that are a combination of existentialism and silly puns.  And the new book is just great--it really captures Martin's zeitgeist.  One day I'll do a post on the three books a comedian can write:
a. memoir
b. bits
c. novel

Many write all three. If they are successful at it, all three get published.  The novel usually bombs.  Sorry, but it's true.  The bits do the best, and This is a book is bits. I had a wonderful time with This is a Book, filled with essays like “What I imagine my personal checks that have dolphins on them, do for me” and “Protagonists Hospital, where all patients have minor wounds or amnesia.”

I think I love the short pieces best, and found myself laughing out loud and quoting a lot.  I love to read funny things out loud. First the people I'm reading to laugh (especially if they work for me), then they are a bit irritated with me (especially if they work for me).

And then I laugh out loud when I'm not reading aloud and strangers on the bus look askance. But I didn't ask them for a cigarette in the middle of a cell phone call, like the woman at my bus stop a few days ago. 

That said, I’d actually suggest reading it a bit at a time or you might overdose, like eating a box of sampler chocolates.  It says “sample” for a reason.  And it’s a good thing I am bad at remembering punchlines.  This encourages other people to buy the book, because they sort of laugh and yet realize that I’m not doing a good job with the material.

(Addendum: Martin is coming to the Pabst on June 18.  Tickets available here.)

*Do we have signed copies of Sarah Silverman's The Bedwetter?  You bet your slightly damp sheets we do!

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