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American comedian Arj Barker loved performing
in Canberra so much he is back in December to do
another show. He had a chat with JONI SCANLON
about what keeps bringing him back to Oz.
You're touring Australia at the moment
and performing in Canberra on two
separate dates; why the second show?
Well the first show sold out much
quicker than we expected and we wanted
to give everyone a chance to come along.
I am pretty sure the second show will sell
out quickly though.
Are you excited about being back in
I love it. I have been here a bunch of
times and I'm happy to be back. I did
go to Fyshwick to check it out last time
am looking forward to coming back in
December because it will be summer and
a whole different vibe.
You seem to always be in Australia
--- what keeps bringing you back?
To tell the truth it's 'cause I keep
forgetting things --- In '99 I left my jacket
behind so I had to come back for it and
then I left my sunglasses. On my last trip
back I accidentally left my iphone charger
in Australia and they're expensive so of
course I had to come back.
Tell me a bit about your show and what
audiences can expect?
It is about the state of the world and
personal experiences --- it is done in my
style; in bits and pieces. There is a little
movie, some music, rapping and my
How do Americans and Australians
differ in terms of humour?
They don't really. I have to tailor my
references so that it's about people and
places the audience knows, but as far as
STAND-UP: Arj Barker feels lucky to
be putting smiles on audience faces
all around the world.
humour, I don't change anything; Aussies
seem to get me. I have noticed that people
love jokes about themselves, so jokes about
Aussies always go down well here.
You star in the Flight of the Conchords
series, which has a strong following in
Australia; what was it like being in a
television series instead of your usual
It's a lot different. We try to do the best
we can, but I am used to an immediate
response, an audience laughing. I would
get positive feedback but it was weird
finishing a scene and there was no
clapping. It was exciting though.
You get paid to travel the world and
make people laugh --- do you think you
are lucky to have such an amazing job?
I originally started this as a laugh; I
didn't expect it to become a career. I kind
of have a motto in life, in that if you
expect to fail, you aren't disappointed, and
when you don't fail it's pretty good. Doing
comedy kind of caught on and after the
first few years I began to appreciate it; I
mean I get to do something I like and see
the world. I get to tour in Australia and
go to places likes Sydney, Canberra and
Jackalass. I am doing a 12-seater gig in
Jackalass, NSW (near Gundagai), a town
not many people have heard of, but I've
heard of it. I am doing a show there just
because I like the name of the town. Who
else gets to do stuff like that in their job?
Arj Barker Returns
by Popular Demand
Where: Canberra Theatre
When: December 18
Cost: Adults $39.90, Concession
Phone: 6243 5711
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