Arj Barker - We need to Talk
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We’re pretty excited that Arj Barker, our honourary Australian, is performing on the first of September and gave us an interview leading up to his show. I got the chance to ask a few questions about his comedy, life, his new show ‘We need to Talk’ and his idea of ‘play’.
And yes, he’s very funny!
You’re a funny man and I wonder if you’re like that all day long. Do you have your on-stage funny Arj and your off-stage Arj when you’re getting around doing your daily work?
Yeah im probably funnier onstage on laughs-per-minute basis, because that's what the audience expects and it's my job. Throughout the day, I might still be funny but other things can happen that aren't as funny like naps, crying etc, so it's more of mixed bag.
You have said that for a story to be good something bad has to happen. How does that look to you in the creating of a hilarious story?
Well let's be honest, a lot of comedy comes from tragedy. Some of the best comedians do their whole act about how crap their lives are, or how screwed up they are as people. We all deal with pain and disappointment in one way or another, and through comedy we are hopefully able to laugh at it a bit, and thus make it more bearable. I'm not sure if that answered your question though.
When you are coming up with ideas for a show where does it all begin? Where does your inspiration come from?
'Far as I can tell, there's no magic way of getting inspired to write great jokes. If there was, my job would be ALOT easier. Not that I haven't looked. I've looked. I tried this and that. Meditation. Pot. Those things might help you. They might not. I'm not sure. I've decided that the best you can do is just work at it, even when you aren't inspired. Then you might be rewarded with inspiration later when you least expect it. I think perhaps the effort begets the reward. I'm not sure that's how you use the word 'beget' but I went for it! And you know what? It felt good.
Why Australia? Of all the destinations in the world, you’re here. We know you are married to an Australian, but what was the initial attraction to the country?
I just came out here for gigs, same as anywhere else I've been, but something just clicked out here. It felt good here. I kept coming back and never stopped. My wife came much later. Make your own joke there. (Keep it classy though!)
Tell me about ‘We need to Talk’. It’s such a provocative statement that can lead to a myriad of themes, technology being one of them. Where else will the audience be led during your show?
I've decided to weigh in on parenting, and the correct way to raise children in this show, which is pretty ludicrous as I have no children of my own. Still, I think people are really responding to that part of the show. Some respond by laughing. Others by glaring. Lots of responses though!
Mouthful Magazine’s theme this month is PLAY and we’re exploring what that means to others, so the next few questions relate to your sense of play and what it means to you… Being a comedian doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a playful person but we really hope you are! What does ‘play’ look like to you?
I love to be creative, so for me that could be messing around with a guitar or piano. Or filming and editing something. Or building something from wood in my garage. Ive recently took up photography as well. (Check my insta, dawg!) I'm also training myself to Lucid Dream, which could be the ultimate play sesh!
What is your favourite way to play?
I don't really have a favourite. Any of those I've mentioned above. I also game a little bit but I probably enjoy creative pursuits better at this point. As a kid I was SUPER addicted to video games, but they rarely have the same hold on my these days...
Do you play a musical instrument? Is sport your thing?
Both I guess. I dabble with guitar and keyboard. When it's an option I quite like to mountain bike and snowboard.
Are you a prankster and playing jokes is your way to go?
I like to play jokes sometimes, but you can only prank your wife so much before she'll divorce you, so I have to keep it to special occasions.
Want more of this funny guy?
Catch him on Saturday 1 September, 7pm
The Shed at Aussie World – 1 Downunder Drive, Palmview
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