Get ready to laugh because comedian, Arj Barker is back in Australia and will be heading to Brisbane in December to wrap up his latest critically-acclaimed, stand-up show ‘Go Time’.
“It’s mostly a stand-up show — a new stand-up show and it’s just had a great response,” says Arj. “A lot of people have said it’s their favourite show yet, a lot of people who have come back to four or five different shows of mine so I’m relieved that they think I’ve kept the bar high. If you’ve seen me before you can expect to laugh a lot.”
Although reluctant to give too much away, Arj says ‘Go Time’ is both “what audiences expect from me and the last thing they expect from me,” but fans need not worry as it doesn’t mark a break from Barker’s renowned comedy style. “Not at all,” he says, “what I meant was that it’s mostly stand-up comedy and jokes. You know if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s solid material and the kind I like to write, but it also has a little touch of singing and dancing … just at the very beginning, only for two minutes. I don’t think people necessarily expect that from me. Some of the show is observational, some of it’s silly, some of it’s personal, some of it’s philosophical — it’s quite a good mix, you know.”
A regular visitor to our shores, Arj has become known for his witty and off-beat observations on Australian life which he says come from simply spending so much time here as an objective outsider.
“I think it’s like anything: if you spend enough time here you start to notice things and also when you go somewhere else, some things tend to stand out more. So it’s not really that difficult. I’ve been here a lot and I notice more and more things over the years but now it’s almost come full circle where a lot of the things seem normal to me.
“I just live my life and try to pay attention to things and sometimes things stand out by themselves and they beg writing about. I think the research is just being alive — research is essentially the shit that happens in life.”
With his uncanny understanding of Australian culture, wickedly astute observations and a downright hilarious imitation of our accent, it’s no wonder Arj Barker is known as ‘Australia’s favourite American comedian’, a title he wears proudly like a badge of honour.
“Well that’s quite a compliment, there are a lot of American comedians out there and I do feel the support when I tour around and get these amazing audiences. I think Brisbane audiences are some of the best and it’s a nice way to end the tour,” he says.
Barker will spend almost three weeks in Brisbane during December for ‘Go Time’ and hopes to sample all the city has to offer in his downtime. “I’m going to go out a little bit here and there, maybe go to a bar or a club occasionally after the show. I also want to spend some time in the daytime, do some yoga; I might borrow my friend’s X-Box and play some games in my hotel.”
Although he doesn’t consider himself a ‘gamer’ as such, Arj does admit to a penchant for a certain popular first-person shooter. “I’ve been stuck playing ‘Call Of Duty’ for a long time. I keep going back to that multiplayer team death match and just trying to blast some other people … it’s pretty addictive. I also played 'Grand Theft Auto V' but haven’t got very far yet, it takes a lot of time.”
Beyond his stand-up comedy, Arj has also dabbled in television with his own self-produced animated short series, ‘Arj & Poopy’, as well as his work with 'Flight Of The Conchords' and hopes Adam Hills’ recent departure from his television hosting duties frees up some airtime for other comedians.
“It might be a chance for some other of us to host a TV show now that he’s not hosting every goddamn TV show here.”
‘Go Time’ runs from December 3-22 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.