Totally chill, Todd Barry

Todd Barry low-key strangles a deer.

Todd Barry is a man of few words. Fans of the New York-based comedian know that’s not a problem. This week, he takes his deadpan routine to Lafayette. 

What Barry can do with just a few phrases, pauses and smirks is what makes him one of the funniest touring comics around. His style has led to acclaim as well as roles on shows like Bob’s Burgers, Chappelle’s Show, and Delocated; appearances on Letterman, Conan and Kimmel; and his very own specials, including 2017’s Spicy Honey on Netflix and 2013’s The Crowd Work Tour. 

The latter special featured the comedian riffing off audience dialogue, rather than having any prepared material. In a quick, email interview, Barry says his latest string of dates will consist of a mix of styles. 

“[The Lafayette show] will mainly be my material, but I always do some crowd work,” Barry says. 

Seeing a Barry show is kind of like hanging out with the comedian. A typical night out with him is “incredibly exciting,” he says, before clarifying, “No, I just like restaurants and maybe a quiet bar.”

For the better part of three decades, the soft-spoken comic has welcomed the opportunity to play shows in smaller towns. Such a tour was chronicled in the 2017 book, Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian’s Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World

Along the way, he gained more of a following on Twitter, using the platform to sarcastically ask companies for free swag. 

“I tweeted at a couch company and asked for something to sit on while I watched my Netflix special,” he says. “They sent me a couch.”

With the constant tours, he’s a big frequent flyer. He doesn’t know how many frequent flyer miles he has “across all airlines, but I mainly fly United. I have about 930,000 miles with them.” 

And hotels? He knows about all the best hotels across the country. 

“There are a few chain hotels that are pretty reliable,” he says, “but I prefer a chill, boutique hotel.” 

I don’t know if Lafayette has a “chill, boutique hotel,” and honestly, I’m not sure if any of this interview makes sense. I’m a huge fan of Barry’s, and when I got this opportunity to interview him, I totally sent jokey/inside baseball questions, rather than anything of merit. Now I’m here, a dozen paragraphs in, trying to fit in a factoid about how Barry used to play drums for an indie rock band into a story. 

“I occasionally sit in with a friend’s band, but I don’t play much anymore,” Barry says. “I’d like to play drums more, but I’m not that good. And you can’t really have a drum set in a NY apartment. Or, at least I can’t.” 

No matter what dumb thing I asked, I read each, small response in that dry voice that is equal parts warm-hearted and “Did you just hear yourself?”-level sarcastic.

That may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly mine. 

Lafayette Comedy presents Todd Barry 
8:30 p.m., Saturday, July 20 
Club 337 inside the Doubletree Hilton, 1521 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette 
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. JP Leonard hosts, Vincent Zambon opens.