LYAO (ARJ BARKER)

THE STORY SO FAR:

Arj Barker has appeared on several television comedy shows since his 1997 appearance on Premium Blend. Most of his appearances are late-night shows such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Glass House. He has had his own Comedy Central Presents episode on two occasions, first on 20 September, 2000 and again on 31 March, 2006. He also has appeared on the Australian show, Thank God You’re Here on 18 October, 2006 and the 19th September, 2007 (the latter of which, he won). Barker also co-wrote The Marijuana-Logues, an off-Broadway show currently showing in New York – the title is a parody of production The Vagina Monologues. Doug Benson and Tony Camin also wrote the play, and all three perform in it as the original cast. Arj Barker also appears in the HBO sitcom Flight of the Conchords, as Dave, Bret and Jemaine’s friend, whom they meet after moving to New York. Arj was featured as a contestant on the first episode of the fifth season of Last Comic Standing, where he advanced to the Los Angeles semi-final round. LYAO was performed live at the PANTAGES THEATRE, MINNEAPOLIS, MN. This CD + DVD packages includes the audio and Disc 1, as well as the entire show on DVD on Disc 2.

TRACK LIST

Disc: 1
1. LOL
2. <3
3. WTF
4. GTFO!
5. ROFL
6. HFS
7. SOS
8. LMAO
9. JK
10. HAHA
11. OMG
12. BFF?
Disc: 2
1. LOL
2. <3
3. WTF
4. GTFO!
5. ROFL
6. HFS
7. SOS
8. LMAO
9. JK
10. HAHA
11. OMG
12. BFF?
13. Sickest Buddhist
14. Doomerang

THE CRITICISM:

Arj Barker is famous for appearing as Dave, Bret and Jermaine’s friend on the HBO sitcom Flight of the Conchords and as a fifth season semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing. He has made appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well regularly headlining clubs in the US, UK and Australia. Barker has also appeared on Comedy Central Presents in 2000 and 2006, and Premium Blend.

The absurd comedy here includes a bit on global warming that segues nicely into an astronomy routine and a predictive texting bit with a really good font joke, and an amazing bit on WW II,  Now, how many comics do you know who can do war, astronomy, and font comedy? LYAO also includes an ode to water, a Shakespearean bit about showering, a bit about aging, and a brilliant set up involving a kid coming into your life.

Somewhere around the point that Barker begins accusing his water of war crimes, tearfully reminiscing the father of his current shampoo, and reluctantly stopping a joke because he is not smart enough to finish it, it becomes clear there is a sense of brilliance to such idiocy. He has the ability to lure the audience unexpectedly into his reality, to take them from an area of relative sanity and relatable experience into absurdity and surrealism.

“LYAO” is a fun side-project for Barker, but he’s still the weakest part of what made Flight of the Conchords work. That’s not to say that the material isn’t funny, it gets quite a few laughs. But, his material lacks the focal control of Jermaine Clement or Bret. It’s hard to compare them, but you’ve got to go by records. The DVD portion of the release works better, since Barker plays well with visuals cues and setting up jokes. Maybe, it should stay away from the audio world.

THE BREAKDOWN

Final Score:  88% – B

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