Arj Barker is a man who needs no introduction. Internationally renowned comedian and honorary Australian, Arj has spent years getting in our heads and now, he wants you to get in his.
“‘Get In My Head’ is just a basic idea that you come along to the show and you’re going to find out what makes me tick,” Arj explains. “It’s just seeing the world through my eyes.”
With recent tours of the UK, Europe and the United States, Arj is due in Australia this week, including a three-week season in Brisbane at the end of September; and Arj says he’s particularly looking forward to getting back there. “We just have a wonderful time [in Brisbane]... We look no further; no offence to the others but we look no further… I love those guys."
It’s not just Brisbane though; Australia has had an unashamed love affair with Arj Barker for many years, mostly due to his uncanny ability to caption and comment on our way of life with deadpan comedic accuracy. “My best audiences are Australia, that’s why I spend so much time there. I’m not going to hide the fact that that’s my biggest audience in the world, Australia, and it’s also my best one as well at the moment.”
Joining him on tour as support for ‘Get In My Head’ is Arj’s long-time friend, comedian Joel Osborn. “He's a great comedian, but even more importantly he's one of my best friends so when we tour together we're having a blast. He's also developed into such a good act that it's a pleasure to have him on the stage. He creates such a good mood in the theatre before I come up. He's just a great guy.”
Armed with his trademark offbeat and self-deprecating observational style, Arj says he doesn’t like making people laugh at others’ expense, instead preferring to be the butt of his own jokes. “My rule would be that if any group or individual in my audience felt like the humour was at their expense, then I wouldn’t be comfortable with that. For instance, I don’t think I’ll ever do jokes about overweight people.”
However, to his own admission, Arj has been known to bend that rule on certain occasions. “I did get mad at ghosts one time. I did some jokes making fun of ghosts and some people weren’t comfortable with that. Well, I didn’t get haunted or anything so I guess I got away with it. I did let ghosts have it … I let ghosts have it real good.
“I don’t like ghosts: they scare people, they rarely help out; they don’t contribute rent or anything. They just hang out. What do they do? They’re breaking plates, startling people; it’s like everyone needs to contribute, you know. They could at least tidy up a bit; if you’re not going to get a job, fine, but help out during the day or something.”Arj Barker 40-date, 3-month national tour commences 11 September in Werribee and includes an extended run at the Brisbane Powerhouse from 29 September.