Observational humor really hasn't evolved too far beyond the heights of Voltaire or the leather elbows of Roger Kaputnik's jacket. As a comedian, you look, you listen and you laugh. What's more difficult, however, is looking, listening and laughing in a voice that is uniquely your own without being cloying, nosy or lapsing into that really nasal giggle that just makes people hate you. And so, Demetri Martin, host of Comedy Central's Important Things With ... Demetri Martin, discusses and signs This Is a Book (Grand Central Publishing, $24.99), his latest slice of observational nirvana. A cornucopia of essays, dawdling doodles and subtle jabs at the things that people actually consider to be "important," it's a cross between the button-down mind of Bob Newhart and Flaubert's Dictionary of Accepted Ideas, with a little bit of Jack Handey's "Deep Thoughts" for good measure. Humor is often a double-edged sword and Martin's got just the spork you need.
Tue., May 10, 7 p.m., 2011