Barbecue is a good analogy for Barry, who started his career 17 years ago in Florida. He not only admits to lovin' him some Fat Matt's, but he's also a slow cooker. That's not to say that he goes on winding anecdotes, more like abrupt tangents, but his delivery is perplexingly even. He draws situations out like rubber bands to their breaking point, and only then does the funny slap back in your face.
Sarcastic, self-deprecating, dry and sneering, Barry portrays his two-dimensional schlub as a nonchalant stenographer of everyman bullshit. Barry doesn't concern himself as much with the psychology behind his observational humor as he does reveal his disdain and resignation to life's absurdities. "Making important things trivial and trivial things important," is how Barry describes it.
"What's it all about?" is the unspoken question Barry proffers as he saws away at the audience like the Johnny Ramone of comedy, playing to the back rows, whether in a comedy club, on "Letterman" and "Conan," or opening for indie rockers in unconventional venues such as rock clubs and theaters -- his increasingly preferred outlets of choice.
One of a new breed of old-school D.I.Y. comedians, Barry stages a weekly show, "Tinkle," in a New York indie club with fellow comedians Jon Benjamin and Georgia-bred David Cross.
Maybe someday Barry will perform a set at Fat Matt's, rib in one hand, commemorative coffee mug with his gleaming dome and dour expression in the other. Until then, enjoy a good ribbing wherever you can catch him.
Todd Barry performs Wed., Jan. 19, 9 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Road. $7. Rizzudo opens. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.