Arj Barker Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, July 14

Arj Barker Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, July 14
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In the tradition of comics ranging from Carlin to Rogan, Arj Barker is another great example of stoner intellectual standup. With wit being more of a key characteristic to his hour than his enjoyment of recreational drug use, the comic known best for playing Dave on Flight of the Conchords easily charmed the audience with his observational humour about everything from apps for hotel chains to lying about his age.
 
Host Cristophe Davidson opened the show with some cute banter, then launched into some material about being in his mid-30s and working with disabled children. His joke about how he felt creepy to be a single man at his age was average, but his story about how one of the kids he works always asks to "get high" when he wants Davidson to lift him was funny, and it tied in nicely with the other comics' material about marijuana.
 
Tony Camin then riffed about how the host's name sounds magical, plus he delivered a few jokes about weird strains of cannabis. He stumbled through his thoughts awkwardly and his material wasn't that original, but thankfully Arj Barker made up for his lackluster set.
 
Barker engaged the crowd immediately by noting many people have passwords involving their pets' names and jokingly probing for an audience member's pet's name, bank name, and social insurance number. From there, he kept the audience's energy going by sharing that he and his wife laugh about killing each other, and fantastically compared getting married to giving yourself your own bike for Christmas.
 
Some of the best humour of the night happened when Barker took things to their logical but absurd conclusions. The American comic who now lives in Australia argued that not everyone should pursue their dream job, because otherwise we'd live in a world mostly consisting of astronauts and princesses, plus he brilliantly imagined how Bob Marley would sing his songs differently if he was still alive to smoke the strong, paranoia-inducing weed we have today. With his casually honest delivery, lots of eye contact, and a few strolls through the theatre that brought even more life to his already solid material, Barker's show was an entertainingly silly yet cerebral hour to behold.