Always a welcome addition to the NZ International Comedy Festival programme is American stand-up and former ‘Conchords’ star Arj Barker.
I have nothing but admiration for this comic who is just so good at what he does and totally belongs up on stage. Barker’s delivery is perfectly timed and punched with rhythm and varying volume to suit each jokes’ narrative. He cradles us with silliness throughout and revisits earlier jokes to further bond with his audience who knowingly laugh along. He establishes that friendly ‘we’re all in this together’ repartee early on which left me feeling that I’d just had the most amusing chat with my funniest friend.
Barker also at times cleverly jumps out of his routine to deconstruct his own material which in itself provides more material and also adds to the feeling that he’s addressing us more personally – making sure we’re all ok and following his journey. I loved how he lead us along a particular path only to do a u-turn and slam down an unexpected punchline.
Arj Barker’s ‘Get in my Head’ operates on the edge of reality to provide him with the best angles to bring about hilarity. Whether it’s a five-year-old with an inappropriate name or the frustrations of modern photography he nails it every time leaving the audience roaring.
After two shows in Auckland, your last chance to see Arj Barker at this year’s festival is at the Wellington Opera House 1 May.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.