In addition to enjoying international sucess as a stand-up, Arj Barker appeared on Flight of the Conchords as Brett and Jermaine's American friend Dave. His newest album, LYAO, is currently in stores. For information about shows and to sign up for his mailing list, visit ArjBarker.com.
So you feel more attached to stand-up then acting.
Actually, strangely, I like watching myself act more than I like watching myself do stand-up now. It’s weird because I don’t love seeing myself act either. I guess I’m more curious. I know what I look like and sound like during my stand-up, and I always know when I can do a joke better. I’m my own worst critic as a stand-up.
So there’s still some sense of discovery with acting.
When I do stand-up I only can find things wrong with it. With the acting its more the opposite. I’m always surprised – it’s like, “Oh wow, it looks like a really meant that.”
Going back to your comedy, you mix observational humor with jokes about the jokes themselves. How did you develop that approach?
It might have been something that developed from trying to make the comics laugh and trying to make your friends laugh. Comics are the first people to notice if you have something completely absurd about your set-up.
It’s almost a mix of alternative and mainstream sensibilities.
Alternative is a label that’s been created, but I never set out to do anything just be funny and do good jokes. I don’t think of myself as an alternative comedian and I don’t think of myself as mainstream comedian. I just think of myself as a comedian.
That’s probably a healthier approach.
I just set out to be a comedian and get laughs. I like the idea of being versatile. I play in different countries and different styles of rooms. I can play in a theater or coffee shop and have a good time at each of those and everything in between.