American stand-up comedian and actor Arj Barker has returned to Adelaide Fringe with Arj Baker Comes Clean.
Known for his appearances on Thank God You’re Here and Flight of the Conchords, the performer has become a regular on the Australian comedy circuit, renowned for his insightful satire, clever jibes and philosophical outlook on life.
His latest show is no different, offering an hour of witticisms on the government, Coronavirus, the wonders of turmeric, his marriage breakdown and the best toilet protocol.
Throughout the show, Barker explores the weird, tragic and wonderful parts of the human psyche – the allure of cigarettes, the existence of aliens and the infinite possibilities of the human mind – with his unique style of dry and boisterous humour.
While much of the show is the same material Barker debuted at Adelaide Fringe last year, it’s interspersed with fresh material from his time as a travelling comedian forced into various degrees of lockdown in different parts of the world. It’s an experience that was no doubt rubbish for Barker but great fodder for comedy and hilarious for his audience.
Not afraid to tackle uncomfortable subjects, he also delves head first into his marriage breakdown with his eternally self-deprecating perspective.
From the joys of counselling to the advantages of single life, Barker provides a sometimes-stunning outlook on his past long-term relationship, pulling the show into the realms of a TED talk. But as he takes the weight of the topic and turns it on its head, belly laughs ensue.
The central theme of the show is Barker’s divorce but in jumping from subject to subject the set seems to lack an overall story arc to make it feel whole. Nevertheless, his musings are thought-provoking and side-splitting, with some of the jibes bringing laughs long after the performance is finished.
Arj Barker Comes Clean is playing in the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 21.
Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews here.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.