It's not easy to define Demetri Martin.
As an entertainer who first became a comedy sensation thanks to his deadpan delivery and fantastic use of a giant pad of paper, Martin has grown significantly over the years with his forays into acting, writing, and filmmaking. At the end of the day, however, it's his ability to switch gears that may be the key to his longevity.
"I like task-switching. It keeps me feeling fresh," the comedian says over the phone while preparing for his performance this Saturday at the State Theatre. "By working on other projects, it allows me time to rest and appreciate standup so it's fresher the next time I decide to dedicate my efforts toward it."
It's been nearly three years since Martin's last standup special, Standup Comedian, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy.
With film roles including 2013's phenomenal, In a World..., along with a book of illustrations, Point Your Face at This, Martin has continued to flex his creative muscle.
"I think that my ambition is ahead of my ability," he says of his multifaceted career. "When I want to draw something or even score something, I can see and feel inside my head exactly what it is I want. However, my technical abilities aren't always at that same level. For example, I stopped drawing when I was in fifth or sixth grade, and didn't start again until I was 25. When I did begin again, I picked up where I had left off all those years ago ability-wise."
Self-awareness of his artistic shortcomings notwithstanding, Martin has no intention of removing the giant pad of paper from his latest standup special, which he plans to film this March.
"I always enjoy experimenting with the presentation. This show will give me the opportunity to try out some new jokes, and then I'll also break out the pad," he says. "Standup comedian has always been my dream job, and it is what has allowed me to make a living and do other things in my life. It would make me sad if I couldn't do it anymore."
In addition to his new special Martin is, in typical fashion, exploring new creative outlets that we'll be hearing much more about in the coming months.
"I directed my very first feature film, so I'm working on bringing that around to different festivals and things like that," he says. "I'm also working on another book; this one will be all fiction and short stories."
While it may seem as though he has his sights set on a million different aspects of his career, Martin says he is still most excited about performing.
"I like Minnesota a lot," he says. "I did my last album at Acme, and I've just found that the crowds are very warm and nice, so I'm looking forward to being back in Minnesota once again this week."
IF YOU GO:
Saturday, Feb. 7
8 p.m., $39