Arj Barker at the Pantages

Take a break this week from the dark, boozy confines of comedy clubs and step out to the classy digs of the Pantages Theater, where comedian Arj Barker will do a two-show, one-night stand on Saturday, January 24. Barker is perhaps best known as Dave from HBO's musical-comedy cult-hit Flight of the Concords, but he's been a big presence on the stand-up scene for several years and not only performs all over the country but does extensive international touring.

Barker has a quirky, hipster appeal. He's older than he looks -- midway through his 30s -- but his youthful appearance and whimsical act, coupled with his penchant for pot jokes, make him seem like a particularly clever dorm room jokester. (Barker points out in his bio that he was certainly no collegian, however; he dropped out to pursue comedy when he was just nineteen.) He co-wrote and co-starred in the Off Broadway show The Marijuana-Logues, which is exactly what it sounds like, but it's a bit more evolved than Cheech & Chong. Barker's website features a particularly funny bit from the show in which he portrays a 17th Century Bach-head who follows the famous composer from show to show. It's every bit as entertaining as Zach Galifianakas's oddball forays into history-themed comedy. Barker has great energy and an act that is broadly appealing without ever lapsing into the generic. The show is sponsored by Acme.

Saturday, January 24 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $16.50. 710 Hennepin, Ave., Minneapolis. 612-339-7007.

Cracker Comedy Festival 2008