Demetri Martin's book, helpfully titled This Is a Book (Grand Central Publishing), is not a comedy cash-in, a glorified transcript of his act, but rather it harkens back to the humor essays, stories, and intellectual errata of Woody Allen tomes like Without Feathers. It's also a solid translation of Martin's stage persona. Sample joke: "The boomerang is Australia's chief export (and then import)." Somehow even in his 30s Martin still seems like a precocious kid showing off for company, Rushmore's Max Fischer if he'd chosen standup over theater. But with that also comes an infectious sense of childlike enthusiasm, and whiz-kid Martin has more than enough talent to support his case. His charts, one-liners, and further forays into experimentation are quirky and often cerebral, but he doesn't favor cleverness over a strong punchline. He may owe a spiritual debt to the likes of Steven Wright and Emo Philips, but his style is distinct and engaging. Expect plenty of imitators, but don't expect them to be this good.
Fri., Sept. 16, 8 p.m., 2011