I know what you’re thinking: What does Todd Barry have to do with food? The master of sarcastic standup, with a couple of decent movie cameos and a stint on Flight Of The Conchords under his belt, isn’t known for SNL-style ad parodies or gross-out sandwich-eating YouTube videos or anything like that.
But think again! He has been known to work some pretty hilarious food anecdotes into his act. Sometimes he mentions food on his Twitter account. And then there was this Funny Or Die video about how Darren Aronofsky originally intended his film The Black Swan to be called The Deli Manager, starring Barry, reprising his mini-role as Mickey Rourke’s boss in The Wrestler.
Still not convinced? Tune in to Comedy Central for his new special Super Crazy — which may be a misleading title, given Barry’s wry, cold-as-ice delivery — premiering July 21 (it’ll also be a DVD and album). Or go check out Barry live this summer during his North American tour (kicking off July 23 in Montreal; all the dates right here). Be sure to bring him an egg salad sandwich, unless you don’t want him to hate you. Huh? Read on…
Hi Todd Barry. Where was the last place that you ate?
Umm, I ate at a new pizza place in my neighborhood called Nicoletta.
How was the pizza?
It was good. It was broccoli rabe pesto pizza, which I picked because I’ve never had that before.
Now did you go there because you are familiar with Michael White’s restaurants?
No, I went there because I know a waitress there and I just was walking by and I felt like eating at some place new, but I was alone, and I knew someone that worked there. Not that I don’t eat alone all the time.
Do you like to dine alone in restaurants?
I have no choice a lot of the time. I’m fine with it usually. It gets a little old, but there’s times I wish I had someone to eat with. But I do eat with people also.
What types of cuisine do you enjoy?
I like Asian food, which I guess everyone says they like. I’m sort of — I wouldn’t call myself a foodie. I’m too picky to be a foodie. I like Italian food. I like barbecue. I like Mexican food, ya know…
Do you cook at all?
What about the Flight of the Concords guys. Do they have any weird Kiwi food culture that they’ve tried to turn you onto?
I don’t hang out with those guys. They live in New Zealand. But nah, I don’t, I didn’t learn anything about food from Flight Of The Conchords.
What about in New York. Do you tend to go to the same place over and over again, or do you like to explore?
I mean I try. I like to explore, but I like the comfort of some place where you’re a regular. I try and snap myself out of that too and not just keep going back to the same place. Sometimes I just go for sheer [laziness because] one place is a block further and I choose the closest place, which is just stupid.
OK, we’re asking some of the comedians we’re interviewing during Comedy Week the same questions. Like, what’s the first thing to hit your lips in the morning?
They say that you should drink water in the morning when you first wake up, so I try and do that, but I don’t even always do that. I usually go get some coffee at some place near me and I sit by myself and drink some coffee, then I find some place to eat lunch. I, um, yeah, it’s not the most exciting routine if that’s what your looking for.
Do you ever eat before performing and do you have a ritual?
I try not to but there’s always a balance, ’cause sometimes you’re just starving before a performance. I try and not eat like a full meal sometimes, just a little something. I mean I’ve heard that it’s good if you go on stage hungry, but I don’t know, you forget a lot of things when you’re on stage. I like to eat after a show. It’s part of the after-show ritual. I usually eat after the show, to answer your question.
Do you drink on stage?
I just, uh, sip some water. I usually don’t drink before a show. I don’t usually drink much to begin with. If I had half a glass of wine it would screw up my show.
What about water? Are you snobby about it or do you just drink whatever they have?
Uh, that’s a specific question. If it’s some dumpy bar then I usually try and get a bottle. I know bottled water isn’t better than tap water, but if I’m in a place where the glasses might be filthy… It’s usually just a bottle of water.
Have you ever had food thrown at you on stage?
Not food. Glassware.
Would you ever go to a McDonald’s or a fast food chain?
Oh yes, absolutely.
You actually like it?
Sometimes you have no choice. I was just in London and it’s not like the best late night food place. I was walking around the place I was staying and walked into a McDonald’s and it was very much welcomed as opposed to not eating.
Is there any food that you can’t even look at?
I have a problem with tomatoes. Especially chopped. Like I can eat ketchup and smooth tomato sauce and smooth salsa, but if I order a salad and there are chopped tomatoes on it, I have a physical reaction. Egg salad, which I’ve never tried in my life. It’s more of a smell thing.
You’ve never had egg salad?
No. And canned tuna. I’ve never had that in my life. So, yeah, there’s definitely food I have a big aversion to.
Do you ever watch any food shows on TV?
Yeah, I mean when I was visiting my brother, my niece turned me on to Chopped, which is kind of an interesting, pretty watchable show and I like Anthony Bourdain’s show and I like that show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Half of the pizza from yesterday, which is rare that I bring something home. Some wine some people gave me, which — it may not be the best place to keep it. And an empty pitcher and empty bowl. That’s basically it.
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