LIVE: Todd Barry – Soho Theatre (27/6/2008)

Written by: Staff Writer

In the UK, Todd Barry’s flyers describe him as a ‘cult comedian’ which as he dryly points out at the beginning of the show should really pack them in while in Ireland he is billed as a rock star. His show opens with a quirky spoof chat show entitled ‘American Comedians in London’ which sets the tone as Barry and the host quickly come to the conclusion that Barry’s Sunday night show is probably the best one to go to (if only Todd had bothered to book the venue for that night). The warm-up over, Barry enters stage left and reminds us all that his video forms part of the hour we’ve paid for (it doesn’t).

Barry’s set is not a test though less mortals might be forgiven for thinking otherwise, his deadpan tone scarcely wavering as he relentlessly passes judgement on life’s minutiae such as the advent of the Bluetooth headset. Barry’s frustrations with the trivial and patently ridiculous are all delivered with a laconic militancy which puts the audience at ease without the need for any hysteric. You wonder if Barry is even capable of such a trait.

As the hour rolls on, Barry begins deftly bouncing his act off the audience, venturing off-piste and firing back with several adroit put-downs. There’s a real charm to Barry’s act, he comes across as being the living personification of how exasperated we all feel from time to time with the continual drudge of modern living. His punch lines come quick, the material clever and disarming much like Barry himself.

It’s said that Todd Barry is one of the funniest comics you’ve never heard of (at least in the UK unless you’re clamouring for a reprise of his role as a campus security guard in Todd Phillips’s teen ‘comedy’ Road Trip) and this show certainly reaffirms that proposition. For the less hardy audience member, Barry’s style might take some getting used to (the thought of sixty minutes of it might even have you second guessing your decision to buy a ticket) but persevere, Barry is far funnier than he’ll ever admit to.

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Author: Staff Writer

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