Tag Archives: Demetri Martin

April Books by Greek-American Authors

4 Apr

When you think Greek literature, what do you think?  Homer’s The Odyssey? Plato’s Republic?

I often worry that the world at large does not recognize contemporary Hellenic literature.  This month, though, we see two books by famous Greek-American comedians turned Greek-American authors.


Bossypants by Tina Fey

A few years ago, when Christopher Hitchens said that women aren’t funny, he said it with the caveat, “there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three.”  That was in 2007.  By then, Tina Fey had already showed the world her comedic chops by following up her “Weekend Update” skit on Saturday Night Live with another hit: 30 Rock.  Last year she became the youngest person ever to win the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

In a recent interview, Fey actually said that it was only after she lost weight that she was able to move from comedy writer to comedy actress.

Tina Fey is a Greek-American by birth.  Her given name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey.  Her 2001 wedding to Jeff Richmond was held in a Greek Orthodox Church.

She—and a lot of other women—proved Hitchens wrong on all three counts.  And now she has a memoir coming out that lets you step into the life of this very funny Greek-American woman.

Look for it: April 5


This Is a Book by Demetri Martin

Books by comedians usually go one of two ways: either really funny or really sad. Demetri Martin goes funny in his first book, a collection of short stories.  Martin, known for his work on “The Daily Show” and Comedy Central’s “Important Things with Demetri Martin,” was born in New York City and grew up in Toms River, New Jersey.  His dad, Dean C. Martin, is a Greek Orthodox priest.  Martin’s Greek heritage plays into his comedy and writing.

Kirkus Review notes that in “Socrates’s Publicist,” one of the short stories in Martin’s upcoming book, “imagines the deadly consequences of the Greek philosopher acquiring a chirpy PR rep eager to brand him and bring his “question thing” to a wider audience.”

Look for it: April 11

Gripster: Community’s Starburns Is “Creepy, Seems Greek”

7 Mar

Greendale Community College held an impromptu election for student government on the last episode of Community, “Intro to Political Science.”  As usual, Jeff scoffed at the idea and then, wearing a leather jacket and tight black jeans, used his lawyerly tricks to prove votes aren’t based on anything of substance.

Troy and Abed gave a rundown of the candidates, which included Starburns.  Describing him, Troy said, “creepy, seems Greek, possible drug dealer.”  The ethnicity on the screen shot shows: Cambodian.  This is right after they said another candidate changed his last name to get the Hispanic vote and right before they mentioned Jeff, whose ethnicity was listed as Northern European.  Mind you, the ethnicity of the ever-perky Annie is listed as “hot.”

Starburns’ given name, we find out via Troy and Abed’s campaign coverage, is Alex Osbourne.  So what gives with the “creepy, seems Greek” comment?  Well, in case you didn’t know, Alex “Starburns” Osbourne is played by Greek-American actor Dino Stamatopoulos.

Stamatopoulos was born in Norridge, Illinois, on December 14, 1964.  He attended Columbia College Chicago before becoming a writer for such shows as The Ben Stiller Show (for which he won an Emmy), The Dana Carvey Show, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, MADtv, and Important Things with Demetri Martin (another fellow Greek-American).  He also wrote the claymation episode of Community that everyone raved about: “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.”

Pretty good for a guy whose Myspace page humbly says, “He’s also written and produced many of show business’ least-watched shows, but he doesn’t care.”  Oh, and according to said Myspace page, he’s got great taste in music.  He likes The Mountain Goats, Nick Cave, John Lennon, and The Magnetic Fields.

If you’re looking to get into screenwriting or comedy writing, you may want to study Stamatopoulos’ Emmy-Award-winning writing.

The next episode of Community will air March 17 and is entitled “Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy.”