In Sickness and in Health: Demetri Martin fills in for the Decemberists at MAB’s fall show

As many of you have already heard, the Major Activities Board (MAB) announced on the first of the month that their fall quarter show featuring The Decemberists is a bust. Because of “serious illness in the band,” The Decemberists were forced to cancel the rest of their upcoming tour and also took their special guest Laura Veirs & Saltbreakers down with them. Regardless of whether or not students were fans of either group, the whole University of Chicago student body reached one of its lowest points on that fateful day, for it realized that a quarter without a University-funded MAB show really would make this the place where fun comes to die–or at least a place where fun comes to get sick just before finals week. Fortunately, MAB had its act together.

“This year, we were actually really lucky because we got the Decemberists,” said Soraya Lambotte, one of the three current marketing representatives on the Board. “They were our number one choice,” which is quite a feat for MAB when taking into consideration the potential for budgeting and scheduling conflicts to arise throughout the booking process.

Things were going great for MAB from July, the month in which they had succeeded in booking their fall show, to November 1. “We had heard a rumor that the Decemberists had gotten sick and were planning on canceling their tour, and within six hours, the Decemberists called our agent and told him the same,” adds Soraya. Occurring sixteen days before the show was to take place, this news did not even come close to knocking MAB’s feet out from under them. “Because we were actually on top of things, we already had an idea of who we wanted for winter quarter because we had polls on both Facebook and our website, so we placed a bid.”

Since placing this bid, the Board has, once again, succeeded in bagging its first choice. Although he may not be a full-out musical act, Demetri Martin does have some guitar experience as has been seen in “Trendspotting” on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Disappointed Decemberists fans might, at least, find some kind of guitar riff to tickle their eardrums during Martin’s performance. However, with credentials like his, Martin is by no means a less-notable substitute for the Decemberists in MAB’s desperate attempt to find a fall event. Before winning an Emmy for his wit behind “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and hosting various shows on Comedy Central, Martin attended Yale University and received a full scholarship to the New York University School of Law. A year before graduation, Martin gave up living by the law book and decided instead to pursue a career in pushing the social envelope by making light of “everyday occurrences,” as mentioned by the MAB press release. And while he may not be Bob Saget, MAB’s 2006 comedic act, at least Martin’s act won’t creep us out with dirty references to the Olsen Twins.

Another fantastic aspect of this show is its sudden increase in affordability. Unlike both Bob Saget and The Decemberists, we can catch Martin for a mere eight dollars, which is unbelievable if you consider the short notice and Martin’s popularity across campus. Fortunately, Martin was kind enough to a arrange a visit to Chicago the night before he is scheduled to perform in Kirksville, Missouri at Truman State University. Since no one can instantly locate Kirksville, Missouri on a map, Chicago will hopefully reciprocate his display of gratitude by providing–you know–an audience. Tickets will go on sale this week before the show goes down this Friday at 8pm in Mandel Hall. Until then, we will be waiting with our fingers crossed in hopes that Demetri Martin won’t contract the same disease that The Decemberists have.

Demetri Martin, Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St. Friday, Nov. 16, doors at 7, show at 8. $8 students, $10 faculty.