Roll up to the Powerhouse to see Arj Barker “if laughing is a priority. If not, definitely don’t come to my show”.
Australia’s favourite comedic adopted son Arj Barker is returning to the Powerhouse for nearly three weeks as part of this year’s Wonderland Festival. Touring with the award-winning Joel Ozborn, Arj’s new show is called ‘Organic’, and according to him it’s really a very good entertainment investment.
“It’s certainly my best show yet,” he says. “If you see a funny movie, you might laugh ten times. But if you see a good hour of stand-up, you probably laugh between sixty and a hundred times, so it’s really good value for your money.”
While there are a few mentions or the trend towards all things healthy and organic in the show, it’s not the main theme. The name 'Organic' also refers to the process of creating a stand up show, and the relationship that develops between the comic and the audience. Or maybe that’s just made up justification and the name actually refers to the song 'Organic', which Arj sings at the end of the show. It’s hard to tell, Arj is wily that way. “I wouldn’t get too caught up on the name”, he advises. “Going out and having a good laugh, that’s organic.”
The show will update audiences on Arj’s relationship status, a “hot topic that everyone is wondering about” he jokes (but it actually is according to Google), delve into 'Game Of Thrones' and other “universal themes” such as cavemen and bread. “When you just name a subject it just sounds quite sterile, it’s the perspective you have that brings it to life. The one thing I can guarantee is that it’s a hilarious show,” he explains.
Arj has been in this game for a long time, and coming up to his 30-year anniversary of being a comedian. “The reason why I’ve continued to do comedy, more so than me being skilful is that I have a distinct lack of other skills, so there are just less options in that regard.” He deadpans. When asked to reflect on his comedic growth over the last three decades, Arj muses, “I think I’ve become a better comedian, I’m a little more refined in the performance. In the earlier days, when I look back at the footage, to put it bluntly, I yelled a little more than was necessary. I think I have more of a ‘less is more’ approach now,” he says. However, pondering the mysteries of comedy is less important to him than just putting on a really good show for his audience.
If you can’t get enough of Arj through his stand up, he does have a couple of other projects on the boil. ‘Arj and Poopy’ is an animated web series following the exploits of Arj and his cat. Created with one of the minds behind ‘Bob’s Burger’s’, the series is a little old now, but they might start it up again soon. Another project is the YouTube channel ‘Do It Myself TV’, inspired by the pride felt by the new homeowner when he first drilled a hole in a cabinet for cables. Created with Tripod’s Steven Gates, Arj gives viewers DIY tips that are both practical and amusing. He’s also pitching a TV show in LA, and working on a film script.
With Arj being so busy, audiences should head out to the Powerhouse to see him while they can!