Buffer Post

Having your Best Friend Application (below) go completely uncommented on is just way too depressing, so this is just a little buffer post, just a little attempt to move on, just a little way of putting the past behind me, etc…

Tomorrow is another day, and so forth…


Best Friend Application

I have decided to begin accepting applications for the enviable position of Barry’s Best Friend.

Before you start, you should know some of the requirements for this position:
* A thorough knowledge of mid-to-late 80’s punk music (right before it became “alternative”)
* A tolerance for long, rambling messages being left on your answering machine. (NOTE: An “appreciation” would be better, but a “tolerance” will do.)
* Must be a connoisseur of the overlooked art of the Bad Pun.



1) Name:

2) Nickname:

3) If I choose to make up a nickname for you, as I most certainly will, do you have any names that are strictly off limits (ex. “Doofus,” “Bozo,” etc…)?

4) Please list your last three best friends:

5) Who is your current or most recent best friend?

6) Reason for ending relationship:

7) What qualities do you possess that you feel could not be satisfied by a more traditional best friend, like a dog? Use another sheet of paper if necessary.

8) What is the latest/earliest that you will accept phone calls?

9) Identify, using the quote, and re-enact the following Monty Python routines:
A) “I didn’t expect some kind of Spanish Inquisition…”
B) “Do you, in fact, have any cheese here at all?”
C) “He’s not dead, he’s pinin’ for the fjords.”

10) Fill in the blanks: “Hey, Barry, I really _____ your last column! It was totally _____!”

11) Identify the films from which the following quotes were taken:
A) “We believe that McCartney is merely in denial about his untimely death. Praise Paul!”
B) “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!”
C) “Don’t you want to look at the Grand Canyon?”

12) If I were to say to you, “Hey, I just got this new Blind Slim Williamson CD. It’s a reissue of a Library of Congress recording from a back porch in Hushpuckenah, Mississippi in 1936 and features Sandbox Leroy on harmonica. If you listen closely, you can hear Williamson’s wife cussing him out during some of the softer choruses,” would you reply:
A) Wow, that sounds amazing. Put it on. Turn it up.
B) Really? Is that the one where they do a version of Memphis Johnson’s “Cott’npatch Moan?” I think I used to have that on vinyl.
C) Why the hell would I want to listen to an ancient, scratchy recording of some dead guy playing an out-of-tune guitar?

13) How many times have you seen The Ramones live in concert?

14) If I were to say, “I used to be a doctor, but I had to quit, ’cause I kept losing my patience,” would you reply:
A) Oh, how very, very witty. Ah ha ha ha ha. Please! Stop! My side!
B) There was a time when I held fast to the notion that the pun was the lowest form of wit, but the more time I spend with you the more I am beginning to realize that it is a grossly overlooked and underappreciated art form, one that you are not only single-handedly reviving, but also taking to levels never before imagined possible.
C) Good bye.

15) If I were to say to you, “Have I told you the story about the time I burned my eyelashes off while trying to light gasoline?” would you reply (NOTE: Chances are good that I have told you this story no less that 5 times):
A) No. No, I don’t think you have. Here, give me a moment to make myself comfortable so I can give you my complete and undivided attention. Mind if I take notes, as I’m sure I’ll want to refer back to this often?
B) Oh yeah! You have! I love that story! Will you tell it again?
C) Jesus! Not the fuckin’ eyelash story again! Can’t you let one week go by without telling that goddamn story?

16) Essay question #1: You say something very clever, witty or insightful during a conversation with me. I pull out a tiny notebook and write it down. A week later you read your very words in the newspaper, in a column with not only my name on it but a picture of my head next to it. I have prefaced your thoughts with, “Oh, and here’s something really interesting that I thought of the other day.” There is not even a mention of your name, nary a nod in your direction. How do you react?

17) Essay question #2: You do or say something that you wish you could take back at once. One of those moments where the only saving grace is that a bunch of people weren’t around to witness you do or say it. But I was there, notebook in hand. A week later you read about it, in detail, with several fabricated embarrassments added and also attributed to you, supposedly to make for a more interesting read. There was no attempt to disguise your name. In fact, your phone number was mentioned. How do you react?

All done? Great. Paste your completed form in the comments section below.

I’ll be announcing/embarrassing/plagiarizing the winner soon.

Makin’ It…

Everyone has their own criteria for what “making it” is, right? As if there really is such a state or event – that’s a discussion for another time.

I have this little solo comedy show (if you’re just joining me) called “Jesus In Montana” that I’ve been having some success with for the past year, starting with winning the Outstanding Solo Show award at the 2005 NY International Fringe Festival.

Things are moving ahead slowly but surely for me in this performance career, and along the way I, too wonder how I’ll know when I’ve really “made it.”

Having all the gear to take a multimedia show on the road – that’s pretty cool…jim_av_stuff.jpg
Being followed around by a photographer because a magazine is doing a story on you is a good indication, right? A start, at least. That’s what happened to me a few days ago during one of my shows:


If you’ve never been followed around by a photographer (as I hadn’t, before this), here’s a little hint: you’ll find yourself making the above “pointing thoughtfully into the distance” pose a lot more than you EVER would in regular, non-photographed life.

What else? Well, how about having a cool producer to put your show up in another town? Got that:


Or getting to show up in that town and doing a radio interview at the cool, local public radio station? That happened, too…

Or how about actually SELLING OUT the local venue, a cool, refurbished old movie house, the Paradise Theater in Paonia, Colorado? 134 seats, 134 people. Pretty sweet, right? I was certainly happy.paradise_theatre.jpg

However, nothing prepared me for the sheer joy I felt when I first drove up to the theatre and saw the marquee announcing my show:


In case you are wondering – I generally spell my last name, “Smith,” in the traditional way. Like this: SMITH. And no, I didn’t Photoshop this pic – I’m not that good at Photoshop.


So, if one of your indicators of “making it” is that something happens in your life that is actually on par with a scene from Spinal Tap, then, well…I have arrived.

Current State

You know those little “current state” emoticons that some people like to put on their blogs? Like “happy,” “frustrated,” “suicidal,” or whatever? I think they are very limited, and I really can’t see why I would need to share my current state with anyone.

Except that, on the eve of yet another new solo show performance, getting press kits mailed off for the Vancouver Fringe, arranging the logistics for several other performances between now and then, as well as writing a weekly column AND producing a weekly radio commentary spot, well, I found the perfect graphic to sum up my…



This is an R. Crumb drawing, of course, used without permission. I’ll justify this use by sending you HERE to buy some of his stuff.

Post Show Post

Since this blog is, for the most part, about performing “shows,” I guess at some point I was bound to use the title “Post Show Post.” I’m glad I’ve gotten it out of the way.

The “How I Lost My Accent” show went well – good house, people laughed when they were supposed to, and I think I did a pretty good job, considering I had no script. Even my Blues song was a hit. Have mercy.

Since I was a bit preoccupied with producing, setting up and performing the show, I didn’t manage to take a single picture, so I think the best way to illustrate my experience will be with this shot, taken yesterday, of a lock of my hair and a snakeskin on a paper towel atop my kitchen table.



It’s a nice little photo that exists somewhere between “creepy” and “restraining order.”


So, I’ve got, like, 4 hours until my new solo show, “How I Lost My Accent,” opens. I also have about 6 hours of stuff to do before then. Including – get this – finish writing it. So, why am I here, writing this?

Tip of My Tongue…

Maybe it’s my change in diet (my mayonnaise intake is off the charts lately), but for the past week I’ve been having a hard time finding the right words when speaking. And not complex or fancy words, either. Simple words. Everyday words. Sometimes this search leaves me standing silently, mid-sentence, for long and awkward seconds.

I keep a notepad and pen by my bed, opened to a blank page. I write things down during the night, things that are generally nonsensical, incomprehenshble or illegible. Sometimes I wake up and look at the notebook and don’t remember writing what I see there on the page.

This morning I woke up and saw that I’d written this:

“If you’re stuck for a word, it better be good. Not ‘corn’.”

I think what I meant was this – if you are going to make people stare uncomfortably at their shoes while you make a big deal about not knowing what that darned elusive word is, it had better be a doozy when you finally find it. Like “opprobrium.” Or “ptomaine.” Or “aphasia.”

Not “corn.”