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Comedy: Arj Barker, Eleven

Arj Barker brings his new show, Eleven, to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. As Khairun Hamid discovered, he’s almost as good at playing the harmonica as he is at telling jokes.

From the outset, let me state that I am a big fan of Arj Barker. So it’s no surprise that I found myself sitting in the sold-out crowd for his new show, Eleven, at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

I must admit, having been to a number of his previous shows, I thought I knew exactly what to expect. However, as the lights dimmed and he entered the stage playing his own intro on the harmonica, I knew to throw all assumptions out the window.

As he states at the beginning, Eleven is a little more autobiographical than his previous efforts. Sharing his often-unconventional views on relationships, Shakespeare and Mother Nature, Arj will have you laughing about life amidst all the ‘doom and gloom’ of current world affairs. Twitter fiends (and procrastinators) will be tickled by his section about the internet being ‘too fun’, as we know he is regular ‘tweeter’ himself.

With each ‘act’ punctuated by his self-written, cheeky blues songs (featuring the aforementioned harmonica), the show flows well and you’ll easily laugh the hour away.

Arj is always a crowd favourite and has a way of mixing personal experience, blunt observations and immaturity with the Australian sense of humour. He even proved he wasn’t a ‘comedy robot’ when he stuffed a joke in the middle of the set – the improvisation getting more of a giggle out of the audience than the intended pun.

As was the case with his previous shows, I left the theatre with a face aching from laughter and several weeks’ worth of hilarious quotes. So if you’re in the mood for a bit of fun, I suggest you check it out.

Arj Barker’s marathon run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival continues until 23 April. For tickets and more information, check out the Festival website.

Khairun Hamid is studying a Master of Global Communications at La Trobe University and is part of the 2011 upstart editorial team. She recently traded in Perth’s sunny beaches for Melbourne’s bright lights.

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