Finding it hard to apply his B.A. in English to his previous jobs -- VD clinic clerk and drummer -- the deadpan, sometimes doe-eyed Todd Barry accepted his fate and turned to standup comedy in 1987. Bronx-born and bred, Barry grew up a fan of Steve Martin, George Carlin, and Andy Kaufman. After spending years touring the comedy clubs, a 1998 Jury Award for Best Stand Up Comic at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen welcomed him to the big leagues. After an April 1999 appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Barry took to the Internet newsgroup "alt.fan.conan-obrien," only to find one of the group's regulars describing him as "worst guest of the week" and "icky." Rankled, Barry created the one-man show Icky, which featured instrumental music from Yo La Tengo and had a successful run at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The television special Comedy Central Presents: Todd Barry also appeared in 1999.
In 2001, he made his debut on CD with the self-released Medium Energy. After comedian David Cross declared it one of his favorite CDs, the Sub Pop label picked up the album for distribution in 2004. That same year, Comedy Central Records issued the CD/DVD combo Falling Off the Bone, and a year later, reissued Medium Energy. From Heaven appeared in 2007 and was supported by a headlining tour, followed by a opening slot on Louis C.K.'s Word tour. In 2012, his one-hour special Super Crazy aired on Comedy Central before it was issued by the cable network's label in both a CD format and digital download. In 2013, Barry staged an improvisational standup tour, and released a collection of highlights as a video special titled The Crowd Work Tour. In 2016, the show was given a belated release on CD by Comedy Dynamics. ~ David Jeffries