Arj Barker

ARJ Barker is one of the biggest names in Australian comedy – which is odd because he’s American. BBM’s Richard Gadsby caught up with him on his Aussie tour ahead of the release of his new DVD – Forever.

Your over here all the time. Have you found yourself picking up a bit of accent or using Aussie phrases?
The only thing really is I’ll sometimes say “reckon”. That’s the only word I’ve picked up and it’s strange in America because it’s an old-timey kind of word over there. So I’ll say “I reckon I’ll be about an hour” and I can see people wondering when I turned into an old man.

I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but just why do you think your comedy translates so well Down Under?
I do get asked it a lot but I still don’t have an answer. I like to think it’s because I work hard and I’m a pretty good stand up! I guess I’m pretty dry and sarcastic and the Aussies seem to relate to that.

Is there an anti-Australia? Somewhere that doesn’t get your sense of humour?
Germany – although, from what I hear, I’m not sure if that’s because they don’t like my sense of humour or they just never had one in the first place.

A lot of people know you as “Dave” from Flight of the Conchords. Were you sad when Bret and Jemaine decided to end the show, or pleased it will always now be remembered as a great comedy series?
It was great to be on such an awesome show – but, to be honest, I was glad [it ended] because, although I was a pretty regular character, I did a lot of waiting around when we were filming. I prefer focussing on my own work more than acting out someone else’s so it was kind of a relief.

The Forever DVD is out now. Arj plays Port Hedland on December 3 and 4, Karratha on December 5, Sydney’s State Theatre December 7, 8, 9, 11 and the Enmore on December 10.