TV Review: ‘Important Things With Demetri Martin,’ ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Demetri Martin and Sarah Silverman are now back-to-back on Thursday nights on Comedy Central with “Important Things With Demetri Martin” and “The Sarah Silverman Program” and the two incredibly talented comedians make for a perfect fit as both shows have similar strengths and weaknesses. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

Why is it that I like Martin and love Silverman and yet I find their shows more “original” or “interesting” than straight-up funny? The fact is that both comedians are more talented than the overall quality of their individual shows. Neither show is anywhere near a waste of time and both season premieres feature moments where their star’s talents shine through, but both are also classic cases of hit-and-miss comedy with a few too many misses to unabashedly recommend.

Sarah Silverman, Demetri Martin
Sarah Silverman, Demetri Martin
Photo credit: Mark Davis/Picture Group

The night starts with the second season premiere of “Important Things With Demetri Martin,” an odd blend of sketch comedy, stand-up routines, animated shorts, and even musical interludes based on a different weekly subject. The first episode of season two centers around “Attention,” so sketches include a bit about a henchman who won’t shut up and a dog who wears funny outfits at inappropriate moments. In between, Martin does on-stage bits in front of an audience including traditional stand-up and even a few visual aids.

Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman
Photo credit: Vince Bucci

The on-stage bits of “Important Things” are far more successful than the sketches, which often beat a clever idea to death, as in the henchman routine, which goes on way too long. There’s something endearing about this awkward comedian delivering his witty brand of quirky humor to an appreciative audience that doesn’t quite translate to his acting in sketch comedy. And the writing seems to sag every time it leaves Martin’s stage routine.

Having said that, there are enough laugh-out-loud moments in the premiere (most notably a great bit comparing when attention-getting behavior is “Good,” “Bad,” or “Interesting”) to take a look and I can’t imagine fans of Martin or the first season will be disappointed. In fact, I’m a fan of this young comedian. I’m just not quite yet a fan of his show.

Sadly, I could say the same thing about “The Sarah Silverman Program,” although Silverman is even more talented and her show, overall, clicks more often than “Important Things”. Silverman is simply one of the funniest people on television. And yet, once again, the show that bears her name isn’t a home run. Too often it feels like Silverman and her writers are going for not quite “shock value” but “hip value,” almost projecting a neon sign reading how quirky and clever they think they are.

Take the season premiere. I would love to read an honest TV Guide description - “After learning that she was born with both male and female parts, Sarah Silverman grows a mustache, thinks she’s a guy, and swallows her own baby penis while Brian (Brian Posehn) and Steve (Steve Agee) are haunted by the neighbor they killed with their remote control. It ends with a song called “The Baby Penis in Your Mind”.”

Clearly, there’s no arguing the originality of Silverman’s brand of humor. You won’t see anything else like “The Sarah Silverman Program” on the air and considering the garbage dump of bad comedy on cable, there’s something to be said for originality. Bluntly, I just wish “The Sarah Silverman Program” was funnier. Sarah is still more talented than the overall quality of the show, one that only rarely rises to her remarkable comic timing.

‘Important Things With Demetri Martin,’ which airs on Comedy Central, stars Demetri Martin. The second season premiere airs on Thursday, February 4th, 2010 at 9PM CST.

‘The Sarah Silverman Program,’ which airs on Comedy Central, stars Sarah Silverman, Brian Posehn, Steve Agee, Laura Silverman, and Jay Johnston. The third season premiere airs on Thursday, February 4th, 2010 at 9:30PM CST. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions