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Comedian Todd Barry to perform stand-up at the Mill

BY JESSICA CARBINO | DECEMBER 10, 2010 7:10 AM

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A crowd of people, a sole microphone sitting center stage, and just five minutes. That's where it all began for comedian Todd Barry, whose success started at open-mike nights at comedy clubs throughout Florida.

These seemingly random performances led him to become a professional comedian and embark on many tours showcasing his talent. He will perform his comedy at 9 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show.

Sam Lockeward, a talent booker at the Mill, says he's excited to finally have a comedian visit the venue.

"He's super funny," Lockeward said. " [I first heard of him when] I saw him perform on TV."

Barry has been doing comedy for the past 23 years and though he didn't become interested in performing until college, he was always a big fan of comedy.

"I loved watching comics on TV, bought comedy albums, and went to comedy clubs, but I never thought about doing it until I was 23 years old," he said.

Once he figured out comedy was what he wanted to pursue as a career, he first began by trying to get his name out there, making a big splash by landing performances on the "Late Show with David Letterman," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," among others. Though these shows may have been intimidating for the then amateur comedian, Barry didn't let his reservations stand in his way.

"These shows are always exciting but scary," he said. "You're being seen by so many more people than if you just do a show at a club."

He has performed at a variety of establishments around the globe, traveling across the country performing shows, and in England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Bermuda, and Australia.

"I really loved Australia, but I really liked the other countries I've visited; it's hard to pick a favorite," he said.

In addition to performing in clubs around the world, he also had the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall not just once but twice.

But one place Barry hasn't performed yet is Iowa City.

"It's my first show in Iowa City, and I'm looking forward to it," he said.

Now that he's graduated from the comedy-club circuit, he's enjoying the perks that come with being a professional comedian.

"I like having creative control and sleeping late," he said.

The comedian is now pursuing a career in acting as well. Because of his many relationships in the film industry, he was lucky enough to land parts in several movies and television shows.

"I was able to get parts without an extensive auditioning process; that's how I get most of my acting work, luckily," he said.

One of Barry's latest works is Pete Smalls is Dead, which is on the festival circuit. The movie stars Peter Dinklage, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, and Rosie Perez. He also has a small part in the Sigourney Weaver and Alicia Silverstone movie Vamps and one in the film Wanderlust, starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston.

Though Barry is enjoying his career as a funnyman, working on his acting career has its own advantages.

"For films and TV, I like seeing how the end product turns out," he said. "It can also be fun to be on the set."


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