In 2005, the standup documentary “The Comedians of Comedy” included alt-comedians Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn and Zach Galifianakis. The tour was meant to promote the incorporation of comedy into rock clubs, specifically indie-rock clubs, in order to give comedy the same sort of accessibility music typically has.
“The Comedians of Comedy” weren’t exactly pioneers of the comedy-indie-rock trend, but that tour went a long way in establishing comedy as a major part of indie rock. Today, comedy records are reviewed on Pitchfork, you can see comedians like Aziz Ansari and Eugene Mirman at music festivals, and Todd Barry’s opened for indie-rock acts like Yo La Tengo and Jens Lekman.
In a recent interview with the Advocate, Barry talked about his Collinsville show and forthcoming record, his first since 2008, which will be an hour-long Comedy Central special. If you’re going to see Barry this week, you can expect to see some material from the as-yet unrecorded special, and a mix of other more impromptu stuff too.
Barry says he likes to keep a mix of older, tried-and-true material as well as the newer stuff, saying he “can’t think up a new hour [of comedy] every year.”
“I think it’s a nice goal,” Barry says of trying to regularly come up with all-brand-new material. “And some comedians do it. [With] comedy, it’s all about surprise. In a band, you can get away with singing the old songs, the audience wants to know what’s coming. That’s not really true of comedy.”
Barry says he’s more or less constantly on tour, but he’s busy with TV work as well. He regularly shows up on “Louie” and on Adult Swim’s “Delocated,” new episodes of which will start to air this winter. And like many popular comedians today, Barry’s a prolific tweeter. A recent Twitter exchange with the musician/unofficial comedian Aimee Mann and Tim Heidecker culminated in a customized tune for Barry called “Todd Barry is an Idiot,” the lyrics to which include: “Todd Barry is an idiot/Don’t take brains or money to see/He’s a stupid, fucking asshole.” (Barry said “that was fun.”)