Demetri Martin’s muted stand-up persona has a long lineage, though his own place on the deadpan continuum can be hard to locate. (Steven Wright plus acoustic guitars? Mitch Hedberg minus Zach Galifianakis?) This Is a Book only complicates things, which is to his credit: The book shows his knack for the piercing gag as well as the extended riff. The one-liners speak for themselves: “A typo can charge the meaning of everything;” “After I fell into that well it really changed my perspective on wishing;” “99.9 percent of all castles in America are located in fish tanks.” The longer essays work equally well, mining Socrates, TV ER dramas (“Protagonists’ Hospital”), crossword puzzles, and genies for more laughs than you’d suspect. His nerdery seems cozy, but it’s riskier than he lets on. Who else tries to parody A Christmas Carol by introducing the Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect? Who else could pull it off?
Demetri Martin discusses and reads from his book at 7 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $27 admission includes a copy of the book.