Skip to content


Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2010
Arj Barker - Let Me Do the Talking
Published on Sunday, 29 August 2010

3 stars

Assembly @ George Street (venue website)
Until 29 Aug, 9:20pm (10:15pm)
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

Assembly every year do a line in American imports which might be uncharitably described as 'flavour of the month', or rather comedians who have gained some level of fame in the UK through a single piece of work which is unrepresentative of them as a whole.  Arj Barker remarks early in his set 'I don't know why you're all here' – but the answer, of course, is Flight of the Conchords.

Barker plays pawn-shop owner Dave, a friend of New Zealand duo Brett and Jemaine, in the HBO hit series.  Although there is obviously some overlap, the character of Dave is distinct from Barker's own comic persona.  Barker, for instance, is a good deal smarter and more thoughtful and reflective than his alter-ego.

He starts strongly, declaring that he doesn't want to be like other boring stand-ups, and ingeniously deconstructs an example of the sort of comedy he wants to avoid – through a prism of Star Wars appreciation.  He also takes a jab at observational comedy in one of his funniest throw-away lines, explaining just why comedians can't sleep in all day.

So what is Arj Barker all about?  Well, there's an unusual and welcome respect for his audience (refusing to pick on latecomers for instance) as well as other performers; that marks him out as a nice guy, if nothing else.  He also claims to be worried about the environment, but draws a fairly lazy conclusion about global warming.  It's the sun, he says - “if I burn my toast, I don't blame the bread”.

I felt Arj Barker's show was a little uneven, and didn't sustain the early energy throughout, but was still amusing.  Barker successfully confounds whatever expectations a British audience may have of him – he's still manic at points, but really very pleasant with it.

Expectations >>


These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2013

Coming to the Fringe this year?  We can help you make the most of your time.  Learn about Edinburgh's summer Festivals and plan your visit around the city's major events. 

Find out more >>