Review – Todd Barry, Jokes I've Never Told Before In London

Monday, June 04 2012

"Jokes I've Never Told Before In London" is the name of the show – Ben Clover went along to see if they were made welcome


Todd Barry

Visiting US comedians don’t come much better than Todd Barry. The stand-up veteran’s short stay at the Soho Theatre basement is cruelly short considering how laconicly brilliant he is.

Best known in the UK for his appearance in Flight of the Conchords (as a bongo player in spin-off group The Crazy Doggz, alongside fellow US titan Demetri Martin) he’s been doing comedy for 25 years.

That show also brought the stand-up careers of landlord Eugene Mirman, fan Kristen Schaal, manager Rhys Darby and shop worker Arj Barker to greater notice in the wider world. Really old people might also recognise Barry from The Larry Sanders Show, where he played one of the needy and manipulative writing staff.

His act, never before performed in the UK, was winning from start to finish. With zero pandering to the locals and material that felt recognisable while being totally fresh, he re-animated the husk of observational comedy and rode triumphantly around the room on its back.

Then he did a lot of other very funny stuff that’s difficult to describe. He somehow combines a callous sophisticate douchebag persona with winning self-awareness.

For balancing these things there’s really only Stewart Lee to compare him to and Barry’s is a lighter touch.

I feel guilty for taking so long to write this review, we should have put it up and told you to go and see him on Tuesday. If you can’t catch him tonight or Saturday buy a CD online, they’re all good.

5 stars

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