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Episode 501: Nerdist Podcast
Todd Barry
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Todd Barry

Very funny comedian Todd Barry comes on the show to talk about his new crowd work special, doing shows that have to be “G rated,” and why you shouldn’t go pee right before a set on Letterman!

Get Todd’s new special Crowd Work!

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  1. rhzunam says:


    What are you talking about music being universal unlike comedy? First off music isn’t that universal. Sure the music itself can be listened to by everybody but lyrics and songs don’t necessarily travel that well. And while Comedy in itself is more specific, humor is as universal as music because the world throughout has it. Just because some songs travel and comedy doesn’t as much, doesn’t mean people value their specific music over comedy. And as I said, it’s not as universal as you say because if you travel the world, music gets very specific and while some artist can transcend borders, it’s not as if that is the dominant music in every culture but quite the opposite.

  2. Carlos Perez says:

    Bastien and Justian –

    You missed Todd Barry’s point. If you limit the number of topics that people can discuss without upsetting anyone, soon you will be talking about nothing at all.

    What about music lyrics that demean women? My dog died last night so no dog jokes please.

    Where does it stop?

    Since the time of the Greeks, comedy and tragedy deal with the same difficult situations with different outcomes. I prefer to face the pain and come out the other end laughing instead of crying.

    Your mileage may vary.

  3. wolfman says:

    Humor like anything else is very subjective, and there are so many subtleties and caveats to it.

    Saying something like rape jokes are automatically bad or make light of it is not inherently true. Its okay that you personally think it’s harmful and don’t like to hear it, but shouting at every comedian who disagrees with you isn’t fruitful.

    It’s just not your style of humor, and personally I would say it is completely harmless. How do you feel about say Neil Hamburger, one of the best, who makes light of all sorts of tragedies? I think it’s brilliant. Or Gilbert Gottfried?

    They’re not “contributing” to a “culture” of tragedies and bad things happening, they’re making jokes. Making certain things sacred and saying no no, nobody can try a joke on that, it doesn’t actually help anything. The only issue is just that a comic offends you, and you don’t have to listen to them. It’s all personal taste.

  4. justian says:

    Well simply based on the fact that music is a universal language and comedy is language biased.

  5. rhzunam says:


    You’re super biased in a point. First off, how can you say that EVERYBODY else but the comedian feels belittled when a comedian talks about a harsh subject? Based on what? Who made you the judge on that? And like the poster said above, it really is super arrogant that just because you’re a music fan, you can say that music enlightens and it trumps everything unlike comedy. Once again, based on what? Why does music gets a pass and not comedy? Because you like it?

  6. Dylan says:

    @Justian, I’m not getting into the argument about comedians justifying saying offensive things. I respect your opinion. But I think it’s a little narrow to say that comedy doesn’t ever help people and only music does. I listen to comedy way more than music now and I get a lot out of it. When comedians speak openly about difficult situations that many people relate to that can help them through something too. I’m sure many comedians and comedy fans would also beg to differ, unless you meant just offensive comedy doesn’t help people? That I could see your point. We all know music’s great but just because it’s your favorite doesn’t mean that it’s the universal best. Movies, shows, books, video games, all of those things enrich many people’s lives and some prefer them over music.

  7. Ross says:

    Bastien & Justian,

    On the one hand, anyone who takes what another person says that seriously has fucking mental problems.

    On the other, ripping on a whole demographic of people, deservedly or not, and saying you can because you’re from there, doesn’t change the fact you’re still saying the words just like the asshole not from there, so it won’t stop you from also deservedly getting your teeth knocked out after the show.

    …just like being black and whipping the N word around. It’s not about whether you can or can’t find some way of justifying it, at the end of the day it’s, why would you want to? It’s just tactless and needlessly crass.

  8. Master Shake says:

    Oh my god, it’s Romulox. What are YOU… doing here???

    10 seconds of hearing Todd’s voice brings about the funniest episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force right back from a decade ago.

    Well done!

  9. justian says:

    When you make light of something then you’re really just saying that topic should be taken lightly. Not everything is fair game, when you talk about specifically fucked up topics. You’re just choosing to promote those topics. It doesn’t help people get over those topics, it might for the comedian writing his or her material but for everyone else that hears about it, they just feel belittled and therefor not equal because nobody seems to be taking it or them serious, so they stop talking about the problem at hand because they don’t feel like they can anymore. If music enlightens then comedy stagnates by never dropping a subject. People aren’t helped through situations with comedy the way music has. For example – If the president says the fuck word in a speech, every comedian on the planet will drag their stubbed toe for fucking ever and won’t shut up about the awful topic like a virus. It’s not cool to hear Louis C.K. make light of slavery. Yes he has made light of it comedically and therefor it’s seemingly funny how he’s made light of it but in all reality it’s seriously fucked up and not “just a joke”. Music trumps everything I believe alone. Comedy only stuns someone long enough to give you a head start. Fuck it, let’s just say I agree with the above post^^^^^

  10. bastien says:

    No. No, Chris, funny DOESN’T trump everything.

    Being funny does NOT give anyone the right to not be a decent human being. It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest comedian in the world. It’s time you stopped trying to give comedians a free pass to not do the right thing. It’s time that you stop putting the blame on people being “easily offended” and start taking responsibility for being easily offensive.

    You are not exempt from being expected to show human decency. You don’t have a license by being a comedian, you don’t have a license from the First Amendment. And if you choose to be offensive, you are not exempt from the repercussions. There are some things that should never be said, and when they are said there is no amount of laughter that will make it OK.

    There is no such thing as “just a joke”. Words can and do cause lasting, meaningful harm to individuals and society as a whole. There are things that comedians sometimes say that not only make light of real world problems and the people effected by them, but directly contribute to the cause of those problems.

    The second someone tells a rape joke, for instance, they are directly contributing to rape culture. They ARE harming people. They ARE helping to create a world where rape exists. They ARE creating a world where victims are being forced to relive their trauma.

    It doesn’t matter if a rape joke gets chuckles at an open mic or hundreds of cackles in a theater. The moment a comedian makes that joke, they are telling the audience that rape itself is a joke; that the pain it inflicts on people is ultimately inconsequential. They are helping to create a mindset that ignores rape as a problem. They’re making a conscious decision to ignore the rights of victims and survivors and the importance of their feelings and their pain.

    So don’t you dare say “funny trumps everything”.


    For some things there is simply no excuse. You need to accept that.

    It’s well past time for you and other comedians to take responsibility for yourselves and the impact you can have on society with your words, and to stop hiding behind your profession and one-sided interpretations of “freedom of speech”.

  11. Dave says:

    But I don’t want an approximation of Nerdist!
    How am I gonna catch ’em all?

  12. The Internet says:

    Sometimes approximations are often necessary? Ugh. Pour me another bartender; it’s been a long week.

  13. The Internet says:

    And yet, even the mathematician with the highest regard for detailed accuracy will agree that sometimes approximations are often necessary. Though perfection may exist, it is currently beyond the ever extending reach, or even the true comprehension, of mankind.

  14. Dave says:

    Yes, as an obsessive nerd, I require this to be episode 29!!!!! Numbers are truth! What would Pi be without one of it’s digits? IT WOULD BE WRONG!

  15. I love Todd Barry, and I bought his special the moment I heard about it. It was just as hilarious as I thought it would be.

    I’m just sad that I couldn’t get the first- Oh my god! Pierre the Pelican, what are you – WAIT! GET OFF ME! NO! NO! WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME!?! YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

  16. Joe SMith says:

    Shouldn’t this be “Todd Barry Returns”, seeing as he was the guest on episode 29 (a.k.a. The Missing Episode)?