The absurdity of the world
Arj Barker may be best known for playing the eccentric character Dave on the wildly popular sitcom “Flight of the Concords,” but the accomplished actor and stand-up comedian from San Anselmo, Calif. is also turning heads on the stand-up circuit.
Known for memorable spots on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Glass House, as well as his involvement with “The Marijuana-Logues,” an Off-Broadway show in New York, with Doug Benson and Tony Camin. Barker brings his act to the Parlor Live later this month.
The Scene recently caught up with Barker to talk about his second home, socially-conscious material – and tooth picks. Lots of tooth picks.
SCENE: If you had to describe your act in two words, what would they be?
Arj Barker: Seriously silly.
SCENE: What inspires your act?
AB: The absurdity of the world around as seen through the lens of my own flawed personality. And pot.
SCENE: What do you enjoy most about doing stand-up?
AB: Getting to play the Northwest.
SCENE: So you have been to the Parlor before?
AB: Yeah. I’ve played the Parlor a couple of times. I love Seattle – I love that whole area. And fall is the best time to be there.
SCENE: In addition to your stand up, you’ve got a lot of other projects going on (MonoBrow.com, “Arj & Poopy” animated series). How did those come about?
AB: Those are just little things you dream up with friends. It’s just simply collaborating and doing projects with friends. And in this day and age you can put it online. It’s like how I had a Lemonade stand as a kid. Putting stuff online is like the Lemonade stand of adulthood.
SCENE: You’ve got quite the following in Australia and live there part time. Why do you think you’ve done so well there?
AB: I don’t know. People laugh at me just as much in the states. But for some reason, I got known there – and just became part of the public consciousness. It came down to, well I could stay here and play a 1,000-person theater, or go to America and play a 300-person club. I’m definitely trying to make that happen here in the states though, which is why I need people to come to the Parlor.
SCENE: You don’t shy away from heavy topics like religion and politics in your act. Why is that important for you to address?
AB: Those aren’t the only thing I talk about. But sometimes you think about those thing because they are everywhere. They are on my mind, so I talk about it. It’s in my face so it ends up on the page. Especially with all of the stuff going on in the news – like health care and gun control.
SCENE: So what can fans expect from your set this month?
AB: I’m working on a lot of new material. And they can expect to have a great night. I’m working with another comedian named Tony Camin, and he is great. We’re gonna have a fun night.
SCENE: What else are you currently working on?
AB: Well, I’m building a life size replica of the Taj Mahal – out of toothpicks.
AB: It’s moving a little slowly – I’m running out of toothpicks. Other than that, I’ll probably do more stand-up.
Arj Barker plays the Parlor Live Comedy Club Oct. 11-13. $15-30. www.parlorlive.com.