Review: Arj Barker is the king of cathartic, light-hearted comedy – something we all need right now

Review: Arj Barker is the king of cathartic, light-hearted comedy – something we all need right now

Words by Luke Carlino

Another stellar show from Australia’s favourite inherited comic.

Did you know that Arj Barker was with us here in Melbourne throughout the whole of COVID-19? He feels the lockdown pain we’ve all endured and has a few thoughts about it.

He happily shared them all with us during his Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2021 run in Arj Barker Comes Clean, a stack of poignant new material that encompasses the happenings of Barker’s life and the world at large over the past year or so.

No stranger to our shores, Barker has frequented the Australian comedy circuit sharing his philosophical outlook with us for the past 20 years.

Check out all the latest comedy news and reviews here.

The significant amount of time he’s spent here means he has thoughts on our government, COVID-19, and how the usually-friendly Australians turned into battling enemies divided by state during the pandemic.

Along with the community suffering of lockdown, Barker also recently experienced a marriage breakdown that he delves into honestly during the show. After seeing Barker a few times, I can safely say there were moments of this show where he’s the most serious he’s ever been about a topic – but only for a brief second. He also had thoughts on turmeric and toilets to balance it all out.

Barker has always offered a unique view of the human psyche and manages to provide an innocent and kind take on the world, which is as comforting as it is hilarious. He also, apparently, has some very serious opinions about aliens and how they are misrepresented in American film.

A master at his own idiosyncratic microphone technique, Barker breezes between the idiotic and the uncomfortable, offering simple truths about counselling, sex with inanimate objects, divorce and the environment in a semi-TED talk fashion. There is something that everyone can relate to in this show and plenty more for us to think about.

In these crazy times, a simplistic yet clever take on the world, like the one offered by Arj Barker, may just be what you need to make sense of it all. He also has some sticker packs for sale, don’t worry, he’ll explain more about them – in detail.

Catch Arj Barker at the Athenaeum Theatre from now until Sunday April 18 (bar Mondays). Grab tickets here.