A tour diary from the veteran comedian.
A lot of performers insist that they live for the hour or two onstage and that the rest is just tedium. Barry, “the massively famous comedian,” as he describes himself with ambivalent irony, has not only captured that tedium; his tour diary wallows in it. There are 54 very short chapters, one each devoted to his experience playing a comedy club in a smaller market. Many of these clubs have bad bathrooms, which makes him all the more appreciative of the occasional ones that don’t: “The hand soap situation at SPACE was quite impressive. Not just that they had any, which is always a nice surprise, but that it was that high-end Mrs. Meyer’s stuff that comes in scents like basil and geranium.” Sometimes shows are undermined by drunks and hecklers or by the seating arrangement or by Barry’s displeasure over people who have asked to be on the guest list but never show. There is very little of his actual performance in the book and almost none of what is conventionally considered humor, though his deadpan wryness has charm. He often feels compelled to switch rooms in hotels or even switch hotels. He’s a picky eater, and though he claims that he tries to eat healthy, he’s as prone as anyone to junk food on the road. Though his travels have taken him from coast to coast, he doesn’t seem to focus much on regional diversity in his observations. Instead, every place, and every day, is pretty much like the next or the last. “I flew from Oakland to Los Angeles,” he writes. “Things got off to a terrible start at LAX when I ordered a bagel and it was toasted in a panini press. I can’t defend why it bothered me, but I bet they can’t defend why they toasted a bagel in a panini press.”
An up-and-down collection that often blurs the line between ha-ha funny and odd funny.