He grew up in Longreach in Central Queensland the son of a sheep shearer. Moved to the Gold Coast where he became a roof-titler, moved to Sydney and decided to walk on stage at the Harold Park Hotel one night, told everyone how a bird had poo-ed on him that day and the rest is history.
Carl’s non-threatening observational style of comedy appeals to everyone. He has touched the hearts of thousands of people with his gentle, awkward, self-conscious, relaxed and original approach to comedy.
Since winning Comic of the year and Best Up and Coming Talent in 1993, Carl has established himself as one of the most accomplished comedy performers in Australia and around the world.
Carl started his TV career in 1997 and has over 50 TV spots to his credit both in Australia and abroad. His first DVD release ‘Carl Barron Live’ won ‘Best Menu Design’ at the Australian DVD Awards and is the country’s highest selling stand-up comedy DVD in Australian retail history. His second show ‘Whatever Comes Next’ won Best International Show at the N.Z. Comedy Festival which was then released on DVD entering the Charts at Number One, staying there for over 12 months and then being nominated for an ARIA award. Carl Barron is the only person to have a top 20 selling DVD in the official GFK Charts three years in a row! And in 2005 & 2006 he had two DVDs in the top twenty – an astonishing achievement.
Having headlined at every major comedy venue and Festival worldwide, no wonder that Carl Barron is one of the most sought after comedians world-wide. There are very few Australian comedians on the live scene who have received the same kudos as Carl.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Ambivalent, Precise and Curious.
What is your life motto?
I’m not like other people and neither are they.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful?
I’ve always been fascinated with comedians since I was a little kid. In ‘93’ I went and saw Jim Owen perform, something clicked and I thought, I want to try it. I didn’t spend my life saying, “I want to be a comedian”; I just wanted to do it. So I thought I’d go to a pub and try it and it was great. I knew I was going to be good, I knew I had what it took to do it. I get excited about making people laugh; I just want to make people laugh.
So officially in ‘93’. I played in clubs and pubs for 5 years and then went on TV, from then, I began touring under my own name and I could do what I wanted to do. So it took about 5 or 6 years.
How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream?
24 hours (everyday). I’m not doing anything different than when I was 19 and just a guy hangin’ round. I am interested in the way people are, I’m interested in life. I’m observant, I just take it all in. My whole life, I just take it in. That’s when I started comedy; that was something I could use – taking stuff in. If someone says something strange, I’m interested. So there is no certain amount of time, it’s all the time.
Describe how difficult the business really is?
I think the most difficult thing, I think, is yourself. Just keeping in believing what your doing and thinking about if people like you. Like all the stuff you read about people who don’t like you. Just the other day I was reading a review and she gave me a 4 out of 10…and you can feel it get in, but you’d like to think you are made of armour but you can feel it get in and it can affect what you’re doing; You just have to keep believing in yourself.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson?
Reading reviews. I’ve learnt not to read them. It’s a small thing but it means a lot because if you believe that then you’ll believe just about anything. You’ll believe that you’re great, you’ll believe that your shit. It doesn’t matter as long as you have an audience, as long as they are still coming in. If you are getting lots of bad reviews and your audience is dwindling; well have a look at the reviews. But they always miss…they always miss when I’ve read reviews. They tap into something that you want to believe about yourself: that you’re no good. And everyone has that. Everyone wants to believe they’re no good, so why have it confirmed and preached, it’s like you want to reinforce how shit you are.
Whether you think I’m good or bad, it’s all the same. It is what you think of me. It has nothing to do with me, if you don’t think I’m funny, it’s your business. All I’ve got to do is my business; do what I do.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date?
I remember when I first started, one of the first gigs I ever did at Harold Park in Sydney, there was a juggler from Europe and he said, “don’t ever lose your innocence”. I still to this day go on stage, not every night, but a lot of nights and I say, Rob, [his name was Rob] Thank You. Keep a sense of wonder.
What is the piece of advice that you weren’t?
I think it’s irrelevant, because the fact that I haven’t got that, means that I’ve survived and got by and didn’t need it.
In your mind, is formal training essential?
The best comics I know are being themselves on stage, there’s no specific training. You can’t train for it. You’ve got to realise it’s already there. For me, there are just ideas and feelings.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career?
Keep a pen…and write you ideas down when you get them.
What kept you going when you felt like giving up?
Making sales. [Grins] That and my manager.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time?
Well, I don’t actually believe in ‘making it’. There’s no where to get to, because once your somewhere, there is another place. I believe in working, not ‘making it’.