Freedom to laugh at this year’s Comedy Gala
Arj Barker is probably best known to most TV viewers from his stint on the comedy series Flight Of The Conchords.
In the US-made comedy in which New Zealanders Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie are two struggling musicians living in New York, Californian native Barker plays pawn shop worker Dave.
For Clement and McKenzie, Flight Of The Conchords led to further film and television work.
But Barker, who is hosting this year’s Comedy Gala, intentionally did not pursue a career on screen.
‘‘I’m a very keen stand-up comedian so I just continued to go back to work and on the road to do my shows.
‘‘I love the freedom that standup affords where you write your own gear, you’re your own director.
‘‘You go where you want. Once you’re on stage, you do whatever you want.
‘‘Acting is fun. It’s a separate craft and I’m not trying to take away from that. But there is not as much freedom as an actor as there is as a stand-up because as an actor you’re beholden to the script, the network, the director and the production company and the schedule – and the scheduling is ridiculous for TV and film.
Barker, 43, is looking forward to hosting the 2018 Comedy Gala, which offers a taster of some of the acts performing in the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
The show features local comedians such as Dai Henwood, Pax Assadi, and Rhys Mathewson as well as 7 Days favourite Heath Franklin, who is otherwise known as Chopper.
As part of the Comedy Festival, Barker will be performing Organic, his own stand-up show.
‘‘ Organic is more than a reference to food or living,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s also a nod to stand-up as an organic art form because it’s just you and the audience. There are not any props or anything although I do have a guitar and play a single tune at the end of the show. It’s a show that I’ve toured for over a year and it’s in really good shape.’’
US comedian Arj Barker will be the master of ceremonies for the Comedy Gala.