Each week we will sit down (via email) with a comedian on the line-up for the upcoming Free For All and get to know them a little better with a few questions about comedy, and anything else going on in their lives. Our first guest is Pat Barker, a comedian who will soon be making the move west to Los Angeles to further pursue his comedy career. We wish him all the best on his journey, and can’t wait to have him on the show this Wednesday.
Free For All: How long have you been doing stand-up? How did you get started?
Pat Barker: I’ve been doing stand-up for over eight years now. I got started the way any self-respecting guy would – a cute girl told me I was funny and that I should do stand-up. A cute girl probably could’ve made me play in traffic if she asked in a flirty enough voice, so getting me to do stand-up was easy by comparison. I had thought about it before but that gave me the motivation to actually do it.
FFA: How would you describe your comedy style?
PB: Evolving. It’s always been observational but I used to rely more heavily on picking apart pop culture stuff – music, TV shows, etc. As I’ve gotten older and experienced more of life, my material has changed. My newer stuff is still observational but more autobiographical, I guess. Writing this kind of material has been more fun and rewarding.
FFA: You’ve been to LA before; what do you like about the comedy scene there? What are your comedic plans and goals when you get there?
PB: I like a lot about it. I like the potential of it. The potential opportunities, exposure, etc. I’ve performed out there every year since 2008 now and I’ve always found the crowds to be really receptive of stand-up. A lot of the people on the shows out there aren’t stand-up comics originally. You can tell. They’re actors or musicians or whatever, and they went out there and started doing stand-up to get on stage. They’re up there playing characters, and it’s cool, but it makes it easier to stand out by doing straight stand-up. I also like the idea of stepping completely out of my comfort zone and diving head-first into a brand new scene 3000 miles from home and just seeing what happens. My goal is to just get out there and replicate what I did in Philly – start at the bottom and work my ass off to move up the ladder. I’ll be starting from square one, but I’m starting there with 8+ years of experience so hopefully I’ll be able to make an impact relatively quickly. I also want to do extra work so I can brag to friends that I was in movies but not have to do any of the difficult things like learning scripts or conveying emotions with words.
FFA: What is on your Philly “bucket list” before you leave us?
PB: I really don’t have anything on the bucket list. I’ve done pretty much everything I wanted to do, which makes leaving a little bit easier. From a comedy standpoint, the only thing that I never really got to do was win Philly’s Phunniest. I realize it’s a crapshoot and all the winners have been very deserving, but it would’ve been nice to do at some point. I was able to make the finals three times and once you get there it’s anyone’s game. Still would’ve been cool to pull off though. As for things outside of comedy, I wish that I had done more “historic Philadelphia” stuff. Seems kinda dumb to live in the birthplace of America and never take the historical tours or visit some of the historical spots. In fairness to me, I’ve never really cared much about history and if I had done that stuff I probably would’ve been bored to tears, but I still feel guilty for not doing it. (Obviously not guilty enough since I’m here for another month and don’t plan on doing it.)
Get to know Pat even more by coming to see him perform on the first Free For All stand-up comedy showcase this Wednesday at Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar (741 N. 23rd St. Philadelphia) at 8:00pm.