Laughing is something Northern Californian stand up comedian Arj Barker was born to do, and it started at the same place it began for many people.
“To be honest I was into toilet humour from an early age, and I haven’t changed much in that regard, I still usually have some poop jokes in my show. Some things never change,” Barker said.
The northern Californian’s new show Organic delves into his life as a forty-something observer of life.
"I hope I’m not dead inside, but maybe I am. Maybe this is the afterlife."Arj Barker
“If it was as simple as one thing inspiring me it would save me a lot of trouble and effort, but I don’t think there’s any one specific way to get inspired,” he said.
“Little moments here and there add up, then you record them all and make it a whole hour.
“Sometimes you have to write down ideas you think aren’t worth it, because later on they could be better than you thought but sometimes they’re worse than you thought.”
A long time favourite of the circuit, his appearance on the series Flight of the Concords, beside Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, thrust him into the mainstream.
“The difference with acting on camera is you don’t have an immediate gauge to know if what you did was funny or not, because no ones allowed to laugh really, and everyone’s quite business like,” he said.
“I often walked away from doing a scene thinking I hoped I did alright, that didn’t feel very good.
“I don’t have the same confidence level as an actor that I do as a stand up, but it was fun trying new things.”
The forty-three-year-old said he would be interested in further acting gigs, and would even contemplate a serious role.
“I would try it, why not?,” he said.
“I would be interested in anything that came along, I wouldn’t necessarily 100 per cent do it, but I would be interested in it.”
He has had an affinity with Australia for years, after first appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
“This place seemed a really good fit for whatever my version of stand up comedy is, right away I felt comfortable,” he said.
“I had a tougher time adjusting to the UK.”
His time as a stand up comedian has strengthened his character, and dispelled the idea a stand up comedian must die on the inside before becoming a confident performer.
“I think you get a little thicker skinned as you go on, and if you could handle not doing well and shaking it off I think it would be easier in the long run. You learn failure is not the end,” he said.
“I hope I’m not dead inside, but maybe I am. Maybe this is the afterlife.”
- Arj Barker will perform his new show Organic at the Bega Commemorative Civic Centre on Friday, October 27.