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Five years before he tried his first stand-up gig, Todd Barry appeared on Late Night with David Letterman.
He was the focal point of a viewer mail segment in which the former Floridian claimed (falsely, as it turned out) that he could do a great impersonation of the show’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer.
There is an Andy Kaufman-esque quality to the bit. In hindsight, it seems apparent that Barry was well aware of how bad his impersonation was.
All the elements of the Todd Barry stage persona are evident in the segment, but it apparently hadn’t occurred to him in 1982 that he could make a living as a standup comic.
Barry is now considered one of standup comedy’s elder statesmen.
He will perform April 20 at the Tiger Room in Fort Wayne.
Like many of today’s most popular comics, Barry hosts a well-regarded podcast and does voice work in animated shows.
In 2014, he made headlines for his “crowd work tour” which involved the comic taking the stage every night with no prepared material. Barry relied on audience interaction to generate laughs.
Presumably, Barry will work with prepared material when he visits Fort Wayne. And it will surely be delivered in the signature Barry style: ultra-dry with a touch of spoofish smarm.