Todd Barry: From Heaven

barrycover200.jpgWarning: Todd Barry, the “semi-famous, borderline-respected” comedian, appears and sounds harmless, except…

“I hate it when people abbreviate words,” he confesses on From Heaven, his latest release from Comedy Central Records, recorded at The Comedy Studio in Cambridge, Mass. Barry, a slight man definitely too little to even browse in tall-men’s stores but apparently too towering to even fit into a small-men’s shop (let alone the clothes it sells), can become, well, short with those who chop, snip or clip the English language into cute sound-bite-size colloquialisms.

Anyone — celeb or commoner — can trigger Barry’s word rage, spark his ire (and cause the otherwise composed comic to contemplate aiming more powerful weaponry at the offender). It’s faux fury, of course, the cuddly Barry talking tough for laughs. He’s less threatening than a roomful of newborns, and that’s part of his appeal: Barry’s the little guy — literally and figuratively. He converts minute problems, microscopic grievances into everyday jokes with more than pedestrian punch lines.

On From Heaven, he discovers humor in a leaky light fixture; a compliment unintentionally cutting enough to pierce the strongest of egos; a colossally weird clothing expedition at the aforementioned small-men’s shop; overly familiar fans who consider his e-mail in-box an information booth; wallet hunting at Old Navy; prairie dogs vs. pandas in a showdown for his attention at the National Zoo.

In all, the funny flight of fancy lasts an hour, with hilarious layovers in Barry’s sex life and amusing side trips to Trader Joe’s, Pittsburgh, Seattle, his apartment in New York City, where he dwells not so much on Easy Street.

Sorry, Todd: You don’t have a duplex on the corner of Fame and Fortune, but at least From Heaven will let listeners laugh all the way to the ATM and elsewhere.

John Delery

John Delery has written thousands of articles and millions of words in his career, and still he has professional goals: He wants "Be honest with me, Doc: Will I ever tweet again?" to someday supplant "Take my wife...please" as the Great American punch line.

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