You can’t not think of Arj Barker when you think of comedy. He’s one of the most well-known and respected comedians of our time, his hilarious standup mixed with songs a favourite for many during the International Comedy Festival season.
This year the honorary Aussie is premiering his new show down under, his hour long standup ‘Get In My Head‘ a mix of everything from the social evolution of humanity, to the intriguing and elusive nature of non-sexually derived boners.
Officially landing on Aussie shores in Feb, we spoke to Arj about his upcoming show, favourite Aussie cliché and his favourite video of him online as the ‘Sickest Buddhist’.
Where and when was your first gig?
Probably grade school. Each time I tried to do something funny in class, it was sort of a gig. An audience (the classmates) and a heckler (the teacher).
How have your shows changed since then? Are they all similarly based?
Not quite as fart-based, but almost.
How did your new show ‘Get in my head’ come about?
Two years of trying hard to come up with an awesome new show.
How is ‘Get in my head’ different to other shows you’ve performed?
I think it’s my most purely-standup comedy show in a few years. I’ve often had a musical element in my shows, like a song at the end, or at the beginning, or both, but this show is just me and my damn jokes, the whole 60 minutes. I’ve tested the show a bunch already, and I think it’s the most confidant I’ve been about a new show in a while. Come to think of it, that might actually be a red flag, but I hope not!!
What’s the Best crowd reaction you’ve had?
Well…it’s hard to say, but I did do 2 encores in Cork, Ireland once. I can’t take all the credit though. They were just so fucking up for it. Probably anyone walking by the mic that night would have got at least one encore.
How do you come up with your material? Do you get it from observation, life experience, etc?
It’s hard to say. There’s certainly not one reliable source of inspiration. If there were, it would be a lot easier, but perhaps not as rewarding. (I could live with that though!) As best as I can tell, the best ideas come when you aren’t looking. Sometimes I think of my mind as a tree, and a good joke idea as a little birdy. If I try to grab the birdy with my mind branches, it will simply fly away. But if I just relax, and go about my tree business, like growing, and swaying gently in the breeze, the birdy will land on the branch!!! Good Birdy!!!!! I hope that helps explain it.
Who are your comedy idols?
I don’t really idolize anyone, but have a lot respect for many comedians, both famous and unknown. Too many to list actually.
What type of music do you enjoy listening to?
I love hip hop, classic rock, metal, some death metal, classical, jazz, blues…. mostly just those. And Radiohead!!!!
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Im listening to Mother Nature, a track entitled ‘Blizzard Outside my Hotel Window’. (Im in northern BC, Canada at the moment.)
Are there any new comedians we should look out for in 2015?
What are you most excited about in Australia?
Amazing audiences and breaking out my new show!!!
Favourite Aussie cliché/slang you’ve heard?
I always love to hear someone say they ‘cracked the shits’. Its an instant classic everytime I hear it.
Whats your most loved/hated video floating around online of yourself?
Well the truth is I almost never watch my own stuff, but anyway heres a link to the ‘Sickest Buddhist’ video I made a few years ago. Truth is I love doing stand up but i’m also a frustrated rapper.
Arj Barker is performing Get In My Head at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival March-April 2015.
Check out The Sickest Buddhist here: