My Favourite Comedians #7: Arj Barker

Arj Barker is a Californian born comedian who has enjoyed so much success in Australia in the past decade he now lives here (though I suspect there’s a little more to it than this). Known mostly for his stand-up comedy, he has also appeared on numerous talk shows and was a character in HBO’s surprise hit show from New Zealand musical comedy duo Flight Of The Conchords (the show shared the band’s name).

But first, on to his stand-up comedy…

Arj’s comedy style is hard to define, as he flits between clever observationist humour and bizarre surrealism, all of which is filled with his incredible energy and wit. Just as comedians like Billy Connolly are at their funniest when angry, Arj really hits his stride when he allows himself to become worked up about things – the more undeserving of his wrath it is, the funnier. We’ve all probably, at some point, thought that the water resist aspect of watches becomes pointless after a certain depth, but Arj manages to drag this out to a long rant and keep it hilarious the whole time.

Another one of my favourite sketches of his is this following one, in which he discusses the predictive text feature of mobile phones, before cleverly making fun of it in a way that almost makes him look like he’s lost his marbles for a few seconds. This is probably one of my favourite moments of all his stand-up I have seen, and I am sure you will see why very quickly:

Lastly, he appeared in Flight of the Conchords as Dave, a friend to main characters Bret and Jermaine, a New Zealand music duo trying to make it big in the US. In this particular clip, they are suffering racist abuse from a fruit vendor, and Dave in his infinite wisdom shows them how to deal with it. It is quite funny, though a bit rude (don’t play this with kids around), and the ending is hilarious (especially to those of us from this side of the world…you’ll see why):

What are your thoughts on Ark Barker’s comedy, both on stage and on screen? Are you a fan?

8 thoughts on “My Favourite Comedians #7: Arj Barker

  1. I have not heard Arj’s comedy routines before and can kind of relate to his rants! 🙂

    You were right about the ending scene of Flight of the Conchords. My friend’s daughter is currently working in New Zealand and she brought up the whole Australia/New Zealand thing, so to hear what they had to say about it was pretty funny. 🙂

    • His rants are certainly a lot of fun! 🙂
      Aussies and New Zealanders are always hassling each other, but all in good fun really. For me personally, I absolutely love New Zealanders – they are some of the nicest people on the planet! And I love their accents (which to us Aussies sounds so different, we’re horrified when people overseas can’t tell the difference).

      • I suppose it’s like the differences between the east coast (Newfoundland) accent to anyone from the west, or Quebec French and Manitoba French. I’ll have to keep an ear open to see if I can hear the difference between the Aussie & New Zealand accents! 🙂

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