It was the last Sydney show for comedians, Arj Barker and Joel Ozborn, who have been touring Australia together. The Go Time tour could’ve been renamed the “Good Time” one. Both comedians seemed to be having a ball, as they told their jokes and enjoyed the laughs from a warm and generous, Enmore crowd.

Joel Ozborn was in charge of the warm-up duties and did an almost half-hour set. He was a good choice of opening act (the pair has toured together before) and his observational humour and sense of sarcasm made it a good fit. Ozborn has also been named a ‘comic to watch’ this year, but this didn’t stop him recently being embarrassed after he followed an Elvis impersonator who reverted out of character to ask in the most Australian drawl ever, “What was your name again, mate?”

He made a funny quip about latecomers getting their own “Torch and everything” before settling on some airline jokes (a comedian’s bread and butter). There were some cheeky asides about “The Vodafone Effect” and how tin cans can do the job better, plus his thoughts on how the judges of Australia’s Got Talent should really have some before they’re qualified to comment on it. He ended with a long piece about YouTube which could’ve been shortened but did have a good pay-off at the end. As Arj had said, “Joel is a comedian to watch”.

Arj Barker took us all by surprise when he started his set with a big, musical Broadway number. He had some good lines in this song about some people thinking it was ‘theatre’, while others would say that it was to make up for a lack of quality material. He conceded that 85% of the jokes were brand new and also jigged along to his song. It would’ve made for perfect YouTube fodder, except that we weren’t allowed to record or film the show.

Go Time is perhaps one of Barker’s most polished and clever shows to date. Like Wil Anderson, his set fused hilarity with a deeper, underlying messages. In this case, it was to live for today and focus on your heart, not your head. To re-enforce this message, Barker came up with a number of great one-liners (and arguably the best jokes in the show) like:

“Build a pyramid and get to the god-damn point”
“Turn on the computer and get with the program”

And the absolute, crowd-favourite: “Get a deck of cards and deal with it”.

Barker was his typical, droll self. His humour was dry and sarcastic as he told us about getting laser eye surgery; his love of gaming and technology; and his idea that unemployment isn’t such a bad thing. At times, his humour was quite biting and angry (like the discussion about Apple workers), while at other moments, he would take a much simpler route, like talking about some questionable bathroom antics. These jokes all had one thing in common and that was that they were not for the easily offended because some of it did fit into the arena of black comedy.

Ultimately, Arj Barker has a unique way of describing things and this can mean he’s a little like Carl Barron and Dave Hughes, in that he is funny just being himself. Barker has been a guest on Flight of the Concords and over the years has perfected the art of his slacker humour. In his almost two hour set he managed to throw in a Breaking Bad impersonation and a video game reconstruction along with his own material.

When Arj Barker first started doing comedy, his father encouraged him by saying that if only one person laughs, you’ve done your job (albeit, not very well). Arj’s final Sydney show was an enjoyable and funny one for a Sunday afternoon. It showed how this comedian has improved with experience and how adept he has become at his job.

Originally published on 25 November 2013 at the following website:

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