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Arj Barker: Get In My Head - review

Apr 30, 2016 Theatre

Near the end of his show, US comic Arj Barker shares a joke many in the audience seem to relate to.

It’s about smoking weed and how it’s so much stronger today than it was in the 70s, when the late Bob Marley was puffing up a storm.

Barker, who says he gave up the stuff because it started to make him more anxious and paranoid than blissed out, demonstrates this with a suitably mellow impersonation of Marley getting stoned back in the day and singing, “Everythings Gonna Be Alright”. He segues into singing the same song as if Marley was getting shitfaced today – yep, anxious and paranoid – a joke not wasted in a country with one of the highest rates of pot consumption in the world.

Life as it was in the 70s – all braiding each other’s hair and saddling up alpacas as Barker tells it – compared with how it is now is a recurring theme of this 60-minute show. Forty-something Barker, aka Dave in Flight of the Conchords, is a master of the meandering yarn. He delivers accomplished riffs on everything from kids who lack good manners, to taking old-school photos versus snapping selfies, the perils of advertising and celebrity, the challenges of ageing (pro tip: don’t try the face mask recipe at home) and his penis.

Yes, just as they did in the 70s, some male comedians really dig the dick jokes – and evidently, so do other guys. But for the rest of us, they tend towards tired rather than timeless.

Get In My Head, April 29-30, SKYCITY Theatre. Book tickets.


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