articles / interviews Todd Barry

Tinkle Bell

Todd Barry used to play drums but eventually found his calling in cracking jokes. A professional comedian, Barry still has close ties to the music world: He's warmed up crowds at Yo La Tengo shows, and Tinkle, his regular show with fellow funnymen David Cross and Jon Benjamin, mixes comedy routines with musical performances by artists like Wilco, the New Pornographers and Mike Doughty. While we wait for Sub Pop to release a Tinkle DVD next year, Barry gives us his take on dancing, the Clash and 867-5309.

What do you do when you get a song stuck in your head?

I hit the dance floor. And if I'm not near a dance floor, I create one, even if I'm in a drug store.

Any guilty pleasures?

I have that Avril Lavigne song "Complicated" on my iPod.

What band do you wish you could've seen live?

I never got a chance to see the Clash, but somehow I've seen Tommy Tutone three times. I would give up two of those times to see the Clash.

Are you jealous of rock stars?

Extremely! I played drums in a few bands, and I really miss it. I remember how cool it was to watch an audience watching me. It's hard to do that when you're a comedian, because you're too busy talking.

How do you remember your jokes on stage?

I basically memorize a list of the jokes. But I always give myself the freedom to stray from it. I've done entire shows where I don't do one actual joke. Those shows were shitty, but I've done them.

What would you do if you had a show on the same night as a band you wanted to see?

I would contact the band and invite them to my show. And people at the comedy club would stare at them and think, "What's Good Charlotte doing here? Aren't they IN CONCERT tonight?"

- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: Harp Magazine: December 2005
.: Related items on Falling Off the Bone (Todd Barry, 2004); Medium Energy (Todd Barry, 2001; r:2005).