Fresh off a role in The Wrestler opposite Mickey Rourke, deadpan comedian Todd Barry is also getting kudos for his recurring part in the HBO breakout hit Flight of the Conchords.
Tiny Team Concerts brings Barry to town for a standup gig at Savannah Smiles this Tuesday night, in an event co-sponsored by Connect Savannah. We had a quick e-mail exchange last week.
Has your appearance in The Wrestler opened up any new opportunities for you? Is working with Mickey Rourke as interesting as I presume it might be?
Todd Barry: I can't say that I've been flooded with offers. I just did just film another movie, but I don't think that was a result of my role in The Wrestler. As far as Mickey Rourke, it was a bit surreal to work with him, since I've always been a fan of his. He was nice to me, but we're both sort of reserved guys, so we didn't chat much.
Was there a sense early on that Flight of the Conchords would be the hit that it is, or has that been more of a pleasant surprise?
Todd Barry: I first met those guys in 2004 at a comedy festival in Australia, and ended up doing several live shows with them before they got the HBO show, so I had a chance to see how they connected with an audience. I guess a show about a New Zealand comedy folk-duo could seem risky, but they there's nothing else like it on TV, so the success doesn't surprise me.
You're slated for this year's Bonnaroo. When you're doing a larger-scale gig like that, do you tailor the material for the larger crowd and presumably shorter attention span?
Todd Barry: Bonnaroo has the comedy shows in a tent that holds a few hundred people, so it's not much different from a normal show, although I'm sure I'll make some jokes about the festival. I'll probably think of five seconds before I go on stage.
You attended the University of Florida. Did you ever, even once, wear jorts while you were there?
Todd Barry: I actually had to look up "jorts" on Google. Are they a Florida thing? (Editor's Note: "Jorts" are jeans shorts, chic Gainesville attire.) I have beautiful legs, but no, I don't wear them, or any other kind of 'orts.
Any advice for aspiring comics in the post-Def Jam, post-Larry David environment of today?
Todd Barry: Whenever an aspiring comic asks me for advice I say the same thing: go on stage as much as possible and try to get good. A lot of comics want to hear more than that -- they want to know about agents and making money -- but it's really just about doing the work.
When: April 21, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Savannah Smiles
Cost: $12 advance, $15 door