Review: Arj Barker at the Roundhouse

By Milonee Shah and Jessica Munit

On the balmy evening of August 28, the famous Arj Barker ascended onto the stage of the Roundhouse. His audience was entirely unaware of the raid of stitches that was about to attack them.

The show, off to a bit of a late start, was kicked off with renowned local Australian comedian Joel Ozborn. Making it relatable to a young Australian audience, Ozborn delved into his various experiences, including those with Virgin Airlines and their injurious effect on elbows. With his numerous references to Australian towns and history (Ned Kelly), he successfully won the crowd by identifying himself as very much Aussie.

Finally, after a considerable delay, Arj took the stage. Applause shook the room! Initiating his set with a piece on jet lag and the beneficial effects of methamphetamine, he then continued on an hour-long rampage of humour – true Barker style. Unlike many comedians out there, he did not rely on overdone routines or bland jokes about sexuality, racism or sexism. Instead, he brought originality to his set by integrating his experiences over different eras. Reminiscing about the late ‘70s, Arj effortlessly transitioned from reminiscing about Star Wars’ indestructible spacecrafts, to a cascade of attacks on Virgin’s dubious marketing claims.

Whilst touching on controversial topics such as female sexuality, Tony Abbott, Alzheimer’s and gay marriage, he engaged the audience with light-hearted humour, allowing them to hold their own opinion and yet still understand the severity of the issue.

Barker had the undivided attention of the audience from the very beginning, and he held them captive until the end by using material targeted to our generation. From our over-dependence on technology, to our disconnect with social dynamics to making light of the aesthetic nature of gym culture and “getting laid”, he made his audience readily aware of the cruel reality of Generation Y. Throughout the night, Barker had the ability to touch on many prominent issues whilst still sending the crowd into hysterics.

Overall the $10 was better spent for a ticket to Arj Barker’s Greatest Hits Show…even if it meant forfeiting dinner.

10/10 WouldAvoidVirgin