Nancy Hillner wrote:I love when he raises his voice and speaks haltingly as he gets to the point. He's a funny, cute guy.
Snowboarder tried comedy because 'it might be fun'By Glen Schaefer
Arj Barker admits his comic start wasn't exactly anxiety free.Photograph by: Handout, The ProvinceComedian Arj Barker (tonight, 8 p.m., Vogue) learned early on how to plunge into unknown territory, spending his late teen years as a snowboarder before the stage came calling.
After growing up in Marin County north of San Francisco, Barker wasn't really giving any thought to long-time career goals when he took the comedy plunge 15 years ago.
"I just tried it for kind of a laugh, I didn't really decide to become a comedian," says Barker, who was already well established on the comedy club circuit a couple of years ago when TV fame came with a role as spacey pawnshop owner Dave on Flight of the Conchords.
"I hadn't been out of high school for that long, I went down to New Zealand for three months of snowboarding, then I came home and moved to a ski resort," Barker says of his comedy start. "By then it was summertime, San Francisco. I wasn't feeling the pressure of life back then, I wasn't even 20 yet. I tried comedy, just signed up, thought it'd be kind of fun."
Barker started out with jokes about his immigrant father, a civil engineer from India. "I wouldn't do them now because they're really easy, kind of obvious stereotyping. You know 7-Eleven and stuff."
He moved on to more imaginative riffs on technology, relationships and life on the road. In one routine he manages three or four different spins on the old crying-baby-on-a-plane situation.
"For me, it's not so much what I talk about, but is it funny? My priority is to get laughs -- random stuff and I talk about it, there's no agenda. My job isn't to teach anybody anything . . . most of my jokes aren't necessarily a story, they're more like an observation with a funny ending."
Since TV fame hit with his role opposite New Zealand-born comic musicians Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, Barker has noticed a spike in the number of people coming to his live show.
"I don't think a lot of people who watch Flight of the Conchords realize that I'm a seasoned stand-up comedian," he says. "As far as the stand-up, I didn't change anything. Just working at coming up with new stuff, becoming a better comedian. You can never start being more comfortable on stage after all these years."
And, when pressed, he admits that his comedic start wasn't totally anxiety-free.
"I was scared as hell, man, every show was a big deal in the early days, I couldn't eat before," Barker says.
Kind of like the scary rush of pointing a snowboard down an unfamiliar slope?
"You could draw a comparison," he says. "I never competed in it, although we used to get pretty crazy back when we thought we were indestructible."
Â© Copyright (c) The Province
DaMango wrote:Great interview, thanks Maze! Wow, tonight's BC gig is his last show before heading to Oz. If I were really nuts, I'd drive on up there for the show, but I'd probably have to start now. Ah never mind. Hopefully some BC WTFers will be in attendance?
arjbarker RT @thisisthebang: @arjbarker WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO THE UK???? A) as soon as u stop yelling!! ( this summer I think)
Venus wrote:Just saw this posted on Twitter by Arj :arjbarker RT @thisisthebang: @arjbarker WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO THE UK???? A) as soon as u stop yelling!! ( this summer I think)
Might mean that he'll be touring with FOTC during their UK/European tour in the summer
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