Todd Barry with Cameron Buchholtz and James Nghiem
7:30 p.m. Monday
City Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
$20 advance, $25 door
Todd Barry is downright sedate when compared to the fiery rants of his popular comedic brethren. He speaks softly and slowly, and you can’t help but hang on every word.
A well-known comedian, actor and staple of New York City’s cutthroat stand-up scene, Barry is modest and casually confident. He’s the subject of much of his act, but he’s neither the hero nor the outcast.
He’s probably just like you, but much funnier.
Barry performs 7:30 p.m. Monday at the City Arts Center. He’s been anxious to return to the Oklahoma City metro, which he last visited in 2007 for a show at the Opolis in Norman. Hearing good things from comics Doug Benson and Paul F. Tompkins, who performed at shows in June and July, respectively, Barry said he reached out to Norman stand-up Cameron Buchholtz, who’s been organizing and booking the recent string of high-profile comedy acts at City Arts Center.
“It’s a nice little theater and seems like a nice little space,” Barry said in an interview from the set of “Delocated,” a mock reality show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim that recently doubled from a 15-minute format to a half-hour program. He plays himself, a role he’s reprising from other appearances on “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” “Shorties Watchin’ Shorties,” a slew of late-night talk shows and Comedy Central specials, as well as three solo comedy albums.
In mid-August, Barry started work on “Vamps,” which stars Sigourney Weaver, Krysten Ritter and Alicia Silverstone. He said the film is a “modern-day vampire comedy” following the romantic entanglements of Big Apple bloodsuckers.
“It’s not really a scary movie, per se,” he said. The film is written and directed by Amy Heckerling, best known for “Clueless,” “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” In “Vamps,” Barry plays Ivan, the assistant to Weaver’s character.
“It’ll be cool to do scenes with her,” he said. “She’s great.”
Despite a lengthy filmography under his belt and in the works, Barry said he’d much rather be on the road performing, or in a comedy club somewhere.
“I like doing the acting to break it up, but acting is really not much fun all the time,” he aid. “It’s got its downside.”
Barry said he does “hundreds” of shows a year, including headline appearances and opening dates for other comics. He’s a regular on the festival circuit, and routinely paired with musicians, including recent shows with Wilco. He recently joined Mates of State’s husband-and-wife team Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel on the drums and tackled the Replacements “I Will Dare” for The A.V. Club’s “Undercover” web video series, which showcases rockers performing covers of iconic songs by acts like Hall & Oates, Tears for Fears and M.I.A.
“(Mates of State are) friends of mine. I did about a week of shows with them. Opening for indie bands is not a great way to make a living,” Barry said, joking.
Without a break in his monotone, deadpan delivery, he said he’s looking forward to Monday’s show, and that he heard Benson and Tompkins had “great crowds” at City Arts Center.
“I like to perform in a variety of circumstances and venues,” he said, defending Oklahoma City’s fledgling comedy circuit. “You can have a good show or bad show anywhere, really. I’ve done beautiful theaters where the audience is horrifying, and just like restaurants where the crowd is amazing.” “Joe Wertz
photo Todd Barry. Photo/Francine Daveta