Standup comedian Demetri Martin is probably what would happen if Noam Chomsky was outright hilarious. One of today's smartest and most unconventional funnymen, Martin is best known for his use of palindromes, deadpan delivery, satirical drawings, and clever one-liners. Before he was the mop-haired jokester on TV screens flickering across the globe, Martin grew up as an academic prodigy. He was raised in an upscale New York suburb and graduated high school as valedictorian. After leaving law school to pursue comedy, Martin caught his first big break appearing on a talent showcase for Comedy Central in 2001. Since then, he has been involved in numerous high-profile media projects, including the release of several comedy albums and hour-long standup specials. Martin also made his directorial debut with the comedy-drama "Dean," a film he also starred in and wrote. It premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, winning the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature.
Martin has said that he has Yale University to thank for his well-honed skills in comedy. Arriving in New Haven in the early 1990s, Martin was a member of the Anti-Gravity Society, whose members juggled objects on Sunday evenings on Yale's Old Campus. He also spent a lot of time reading and playing with words. During a fractal geometry class, for instance, he wrote a 224-word palindromic poem which hilariously began: "Dammit I'm mad." These word experiments proved to be the extent of his formal pursuits in the performing arts as an undergrad. In 1995, he graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts in history.
Now that Martin is an established figure in entertainment, he has shown himself to be a committed member of the Yale community. In 2007, the boyish comic was the subject of an article in Yale Alumni Magazine, which quoted one of his characteristic one-liners, "Every dance move is the Robot if you can imagine an advanced enough robot.”
A few years later, Martin was back on campus as the special host for a 2011 Master's Tea. The Yale Record, America's oldest college humor magazine, joined forces with Yale's Calhoun College to sponsor the event that honored Martin's numerous achievements in the entertainment industry. Looking back, Martin noted that while he did not write or perform comedy at Yale, he exercised his comedic muscles constantly during his time in New Haven. “I spent a lot of time in the dining hall talking to my friends,” he said, while explaining the importance of his alma mater. “I think when I made people laugh during dinner, I felt more valuable.”