The Cornuzine Interviews: Todd Barry

The other day I found myself watching the trailer for Mickey Rourke’s Wrestler movie (or Oscar Bait 9000: Chummin’ For Pure Gold, as I like to call it). Early in the clip I spotted bald nebbish and pride of Comedy Central Todd Barry. Todd is, in my rarely trusted opinion, one of the funniest human beings on the planet. I have believed this since at least 2003, the year I interviewed him for my silly, irrelevant website.

My back and forth with Todd wasn’t the most insightful or mind-blowing exchange ever featured on Cornuzine, but I did manage to squeeze a David Lee Roth story out of the bastard as well as one reference to the “paisley underground.” That’s gotta count for something. Barry fans, soak in this long-lost transcript (complete with vintage 2003 introduction) from your hero and mine, Mr. Medium Energy.

A MEDIUM ENERGY CHAT WITH TODD BARRY

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Comedian Todd Barry is probably best remembered for either A) his stint as the wise-cracking video store clerk on “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” or B) that infamous appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in which he candidly responded to the Internet nerds who were trashing him on alt.fan.conan-obrein. Now that I’ve conducted this interview, though, I’ll always know Todd as the rock steady Chant drummer who hates the phrase “but I digress” (which unfortunately is some shit I say all the time).

JAMES GREENE, JR: I was just reading an interview in which you revealed that you play the drums and were once in a fairly popular band in Florida. What band was that? It wasn’t New Found Glory, was it?

TODD BARRY: I was not in New Found Glory. I was in a band called the Chant. If you poke around the Internet, you can find an album we put out called Three Sheets to the Wind. It features my “rock steady” drumming.

JG2: From whom did the Chant draw most of their influence?

TB: The guys who started the band were really into R.E.M. and other bands that were sometimes said to be part of the paisley underground movement, whatever that means. But I guess we were sort of a garagey, guitar-based band.

JG2: Are you into the Feelies at all?

TB: I have a Feelies record that I’ve neglected to listen to. I’ve also seen them live a few times.

JG2: Regarding the whole newsgroup-bashing thing on “Late Night”—were there any reservations about going into all that on the air from either you or show?

TB: They were fine with it, and so was I. Other people weren’t so happy, though.

JG2: So I heard. Who’s the nuttiest celebrity you’ve ever encountered? Do you have any crazy celeb stories?

TB: David Lee Roth was in the audience at the Comedy Cellar in New York City one night. He hung out in the restaurant above the club and bought drinks for all the comics. I told him I saw Van Halen open for the Rolling Stones in Orlando. He told me he had sex with a woman under the stage there.

JG2: That’s insane. I was actually going to ask you a question about David Lee Roth. I just got done reading his book, Crazy From The Heat. Have you read that?

TB: I have not read his book, but I will say he was a great audience member and he’s hilarious on talk shows.

JG2: He’s hilarious in general. Say, do you detest anything outright? Like, is there anything where people would say, “Oh man, don’t bring that up in front of Todd!”?

TB: I don’t like when people say “but I digress.” I just read an article in a Cleveland magazine where the guy used that term. It makes my skin crawl. Also when people call a refrigerator “the fridge.” That makes me want to murder people. I don’t know why.

JG2: So I guess there’s little talk of William Perry in your household. Well, I gotta go. Thanks a lot, Todd.

TB: Sure.

– Cornuzine.com, 4/28/03

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