“Hop on in, let’s ride, there’s plenty of room in here…”
Get in My Head, the title of Arj Barker’s latest show is a bit of a ruse really because I found it to be more a case of the much-loved US comedian getting into my head. Well, it was certainly my grey matter that was getting tickled on opening night at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Arguably Australia’s favourite comical import, Arj is polished confidence and always in control. He is sharply attuned to Aussie culture, which is hardly surprising since for the past 15 years he has probably spent more time down under than anywhere else.
At “thirty twelve” years of age Arj is an old hand at the stand-up. The likeable Californian stoner confesses he is always hoping to engage with what his audience is thinking and he offers some credible and often hilarious psycho-analysis of what makes us tick.
Like a mischievous pseudoscientist he interweaves and reconnects his canon of funny yarns and insightful observations throughout his routine. Whether it’s a comment on how people take photos in the age of the selfie, his crude anti-aging solution, or mocking self-shame for miscalculating the level of ‘audience appropriateness’ concerning his joke about a precocious and unfortunately-named time-travelling barfly – it all makes for comedy gold.
Arj rambles on about bucket lists, pre-smart phone photography, sexual dysfunction spam mail, beagles at airports, babies on planes, and the meaninglessness of Queensland road signs (suggesting alternatives such as ‘Road Not Work’). And just when you think he’s done for the night, Arj delivers a sales pitch for the foyer sales of his DVD collection that would make any savvy marketing executive proud.
Get In My Head plays at the Brisbane Powerhouse until Sunday 18 October.