Arj Barker

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Ellen
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Arj Barker

Postby Ellen » Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:21 am

There's an interesting article about Arj here at the Marin Independent Journal. Nice to hear that he will be back for Season Two. :D

Paul Liberatore: HBO series vaults Marin comedian Arj Barker to big time
Paul Liberatore
Article Launched: 02/14/2008 11:22:01 PM PST

Marin comedian Arj Barker has his first big break with a part in the comedy series 'Flight of the Conchords,' a cult hit heading into its second season on HBO. After paying his dues in comedy clubs and festivals for a decade, Marin comedian Arj Barker finally has his first big break with a part in the comedy series "Flight of the Conchords," a cult hit heading into its second season on HBO.

"Conchords" follows the exploits of a clueless New Zealand folk/rock duo trying to make it in Manhattan.

On the show, Barker, who will do his stand-up act on Feb. 24 at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, plays Dave, a loser friend of the band's who lives with his parents and works in their pawnshop. He was in nine of the first 12 episodes.

"It's a small part, but to be a small part of something that's so well received, and to be on a show I actually believe is funny, is really fortunate," he says from his Aunt's house in Fairfax, where he stays when he's in town. "This show is unique, and I couldn't feel luckier that I'm on it. It's a great feeling."

The show, which was renewed after its debut season last summer, stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie. They play themselves, the two singing, guitar-strumming members of Flight of the Conchords, billed as "New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody duo."

On Sunday night, in real life, they were the first most popular comedy
duo in America, winning a Grammy for their EP "Distant Future."
Barker, who performs for several months every year in Australia and has a growing following there, met Clement and McKenzie at a comedy festival in Sydney and became friends with them when they all played the same club in New Zealand in 2004.

"I knew they were doing well, but I have to admit I was as surprised as I was delighted when Jemaine told me that they had a part for me in their show," he recalls.

In its debut season, the dry-humored, low-tech series has earned cautiously positive reviews in the major media.

The New York Times: "The show is funny in such an understated way that it is almost dangerous to make too much of it ..."

Entertainment Weekly describes it as "underacted, underproduced, understated and underground in tone," adding that it's "very smart and very funny."

Variety.com calls it "quite weird and occasionally wonderful."

The Hollywood Reporter didn't think much of the show in general, finding the two leads "too sweaty," but liked the incorporation of the pair's music into the storylines, admitting that "their mocking tunes are surprisingly well-crafted."

The music, which leans to '80s pop, white rap and reggae, was the first thing that drew me in. I had the show on once while I did other things around the house, stopping in my tracks and paying attention when Jemaine crooned to a babe at a party:

"You could be a part-time model / But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job."

After that, I started taking the show seriously, watching it slowly get word of mouth and became a kind of grassroots phenomenon.

Barker, a Drake High graduate, has been on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and has frequently appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." He co-wrote and co-starred in "The Marijuana-Logues" off-Broadway.

But he calls "Conchords" "my best credit so far."

"It feels good to be part of something that will be a classic," he says.

Since he has been on the show, Barker's profile and name recognition have been ratcheted up a notch or two.

He recently co-headlined a successful run of shows with Kristen Schall, who plays Mel, the Conchords' one-and-only fan, at a new comedy club, Comix, in New York's trendy Meat Packing District.

"We sold out the club two out of four shows, and the other ones were well-attended," he says. "And that's not easy in New York City where there's a million things to do."

On Tuesday night this week, Barker did a bit of stand-up at Mark Pitta's comedy night at 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. Robin Williams happened to be there, and all he could talk about was how much he likes "Conchords," imitating the New Zealanders' accents.

"He was raving about it, saying his kids love it," Barker says. "He couldn't stop talking about it. I said, 'Robin, let's change the subject!'"

After his show in Mill Valley on the 24th, Barker heads back Down Under for two months to perform in four comedy festivals back to back in Australia and New Zealand.

"I'll be all right as long as my liver survives," he says. "It's kind of like summer camp for alcoholics."

"Conchords" is shot on location in Brooklyn and on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the site of Dave's pawnshop.

Barker plans on being back in New York later this year to begin shooting episodes for the show's second season. After that, he might try his luck in Hollywood.

"I think I'm in a great position to move down there, assuming all goes well, but not until we film the next season," he says. "This is looking like my best year, but I might keep my futon at my aunt's house in Fairfax just in case."

IF YOU LAUGH

Who: Arj Barker with Kris Tinkle and Matt Morales

When: 8 and 10 p.m. Feb 15 and 16

Where: The Punch Line, 444 Battery St., San Francisco

Tickets: $19

Information: 397-4337, www.punchlinecomedyclub.com

IF YOU LAUGH MORE

Who: Arj Barker

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 24

Where: 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley

Tickets: $20

Information: 383-9600, www.ticketweb.com, www.142throckmortontheatre.com

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Postby Sherry » Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:27 am

Hi Ellen :) Long time no see

Read this last week and thought it was a good read. I liked the Robin Williams bit :)

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cassandrasnow
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Postby cassandrasnow » Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:45 am

Awesome article Ellen. Thanks for sharing. :)

Emafer

Postby Emafer » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:27 am

I've been watching a lot of Arj's stuff on youtube and have been dying! He's freaking hilarious! And my roomie Mandrew is addicted to his cartoon Arj and Poopie.

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Postby claire » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:30 pm

arj will be at comix in nyc 7/25-7/26 :D

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Postby SheWolf » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:11 pm

Am I supposed to know what Marin refers to?

"Entertainment Weekly describes it as "underacted, underproduced, understated and underground in tone," adding that it's "very smart and very funny."

Variety.com calls it "quite weird and occasionally wonderful." "


I like and agree with those statements accept that it's wonderful more than occasionally.

The 2 leads are "too sweaty"? What does that mean?
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claire
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Re:

Postby claire » Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:40 pm

SheWolf wrote:

The 2 leads are "too sweaty"? What does that mean?


that is an odd thing to say in a review (especially when it's not true)
that's frozen cool...

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Re: Arj Barker

Postby SheWolf » Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:03 pm

Yeah they were only sweaty in that scene in the Honda Accord.
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Re: Arj Barker

Postby H.... » Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:37 am

They only look sweaty because they aren't plastered in make-up like the rest of the people on tv.
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Re:

Postby tvldiva » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:51 am

SheWolf wrote:Am I supposed to know what Marin refers to?

"Entertainment Weekly describes it as "underacted, underproduced, understated and underground in tone," adding that it's "very smart and very funny."

Variety.com calls it "quite weird and occasionally wonderful." "


I like and agree with those statements accept that it's wonderful more than occasionally.

The 2 leads are "too sweaty"? What does that mean?


There was a heat wave that hit New York last year when they were filming. I can only assume that when they were filming in the car, they couldn't have the a/c on because of the noise. They did look awfully uncomfortable in that scene.
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Re: Re:

Postby H.... » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:52 pm

tvldiva wrote:
SheWolf wrote:Am I supposed to know what Marin refers to?

"Entertainment Weekly describes it as "underacted, underproduced, understated and underground in tone," adding that it's "very smart and very funny."

Variety.com calls it "quite weird and occasionally wonderful." "


I like and agree with those statements accept that it's wonderful more than occasionally.

The 2 leads are "too sweaty"? What does that mean?


There was a heat wave that hit New York last year when they were filming. I can only assume that when they were filming in the car, they couldn't have the a/c on because of the noise. They did look awfully uncomfortable in that scene.


Is Jem actually asleep in that sceen?? If he isn't, then he's a much better actor then he's given credit for!
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Re: Re:

Postby WomanInThePark » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:28 pm

H.... wrote:
Is Jem actually asleep in that sceen?? If he isn't, then he's a much better actor then he's given credit for!


I don't know.. I love the way his glasses have kind of fallen off his face.
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Re: Arj Barker

Postby SheWolf » Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:58 pm

I'm sure he wasn't asleep. It doesn't take much acting skill to look asleep. LOL. I like the way his hair is sticking up when he wakes up.
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Re: Arj Barker

Postby H.... » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:26 pm

But he really does appear to be asleep! He's all floppy and does little itch type moves. Maybe my brain was scared from having to watch many a rubbish film.
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Re: Arj Barker

Postby SheWolf » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:32 pm

[quote="H...."]But he really does appear to be asleep! /quote]

Acting!
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