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Todd Barry Podcast

Comics debated working the road vs. working the writers' room
Ashley Moreno, 1:10pm, Tue. Mar. 11

Monday night, Todd Barry welcomed fellow comedians Ben Kronberg, Iliza Shlesinger, and Andrés du Bouchet for a live recording of his podcast at Esther’s Follies. They discussed sausage, South by Southwest, the Conan O’Brien show, and the evils of the TSA. The world might never be the same.

Barry (Flight of the Conchords, The Wrestler, Pootie Tang) jumped on the comedy podcast bandwagon last April, using his to interview comics about the happenings of everyday life. This episode started out with all the subtlety characteristic of Barry’s comedy, and that tone carried through the chat with his first guest, Kronberg. But the show took a decided turn when Shlesinger (Last Comic Standing) joined the conversation and colorfully shared how she really feels about the airline industry. "No one graduated Harvard and joined the TSA to make a difference," said Shlesinger. She even offered a suggestion for SXSW 2015: “When stupid people get authority. There should be a panel on that."

Barry’s third guest, du Bouchet, writes for Conan, which led all four comedians to discuss the pros and cons of working primarily as an actor/stand-up versus as a full-time writer on a regular show. They all agreed: The grass is always greener. On the one hand, writing gigs are steady income, and no comedian would scoff at writing for Conan. But on the other, working backstage can feel like a cop-out. "If you’re a comedian, it’s hardwired to feel bad about yourself," said du Bouchet, who admits that sometimes the writing staff at Conan can be hard on the comedy acts visiting the show. Barry will actually appear on Conan later this month. He joked: "My contract is going to say the writers can’t watch my segment."

Barry’s subdued sense of humor makes him the perfect host for all kinds of comedians, as is evident in this most recent episode. Although the tone of the show shifted with the different guests, the pacing remained consistent, with steady laughs throughout. This also speaks to Barry’s expert improv chops, which have taken center stage in his current tour, in which he performs stand-up but uses no prepared material. Louis C.K. will release a documentary about the tour, Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour, on his website in a few weeks.

If you missed last night’s show, look here for the recording. Barry’s also an avid – and it probably goes without saying, but – hilarious tweeter. (The platform works perfectly for his deadpan one-liners.) He doesn’t have any additional SXSW appearances planned, but he’ll return to Austin in April for a stop in his Final Crowd Work Tour. As with previous engagements on the tour, he’ll use no prepped material. For more information, go here. Du Bouchet has one more SXSW Comedy appearance scheduled on The Imaginary Radio Program tonight at 9:30pm at the Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress.

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