Posted in comedy | music | pictures on September 21, 2010

words & photos by David Andrako

"Boo Todd relentlessly. Throw shit at him. When Jon (Benjamin) and I tell you to stop, ignore us and boo louder." - David Cross's instructions to the audience just before Todd Barry's "surprise" appearance.

John Wesley Harding

The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival came to a close on Sunday, its fourth and final day, at The Bell House with two sold out shows. There was the early show billed as "Wes and Eugene's Cabinet of Wonders", and the late show "A Toddless Tinkle."

Friend and frequent collaborator of Eugene, John Wesley Harding, hosted the early show along with Eugene. The show featured performances by Yo La Tengo, John Oliver, Colson Whitehead, Darin Strauss, and Scott McCaughey.

Darin Strauss, the Brooklyn based author of "Half a Life" read a recently written piece entitled "Puberty", which was an autobiographical story set in the mid 1980s that involved gaining entrance to a much cooler high school classmate's party. Scott McCaughey, touring member of REM, performed two songs backed by Harding and his backing band The English UK including a 5 minute tribute to the 1986 Mets.

Eugene Mirman made a brief appearance with his newly purchased $380 Theremin and also returned to the stage to "sing" a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." Colson Whitehead, the New York based author, read a chapter from his best selling 2009 book, Sag Harbor. "John Wesley Harding's favorite comedian", John Oliver, from The Daily Show and the upcoming "Smurfs" movie followed with a set that featured a particularly interesting story about a gig in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Yo La Tengo closed the show with a five song set that featured both Harding and McCaughey and included covers of "I'm A Believer" and The Kinks' "All That Will."

Between the shows Eugene made his way out to the dunk tank in front of The Bell House as John Oliver and Daniel Kitson threw balls at the target and were cheered on by the long line of fans waiting for the 2nd show.


The 2nd show, "A Toddless Tinkle", was hosted by Tinkle founders David Cross and Jon Benjamin. Todd Barry, the other member of the Tinkle crew was at the Music Hall of Williamsburg as an opening act for Superchunk. From the beginning of the show Cross and Benjamin let the crowd in on the fact that Todd would be making a "surprise" walk on sometime between 10 and 11PM. Both agreed that the proper greeting for Todd would be for the audience to boo him off stage. Throughout the evening random audience members were brought onstage to audition to fill the role of "Todd." "Todd #2", an audience member named Andy ventured out into the audience to attempt to do some of Todd's famous crowd work. Andy failed miserably but did offer some unintentional comedy when he approached (and didn't recognize) Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo and mocked him for his orange shirt and told him that he looked like Gilbert Gotfried. Cross quickly jumped in and saved Kaplan from being mocked by the auditioning "Todd".

Todd Barry made his way to The Bell House shortly after 11PM and was greeted by the aforementioned boos as well as cups, beer cans and hundreds of expletives. He attempted to win the crowd over but ended up quickly leaving the stage and the venue.

The nearly 3 hour show featured short sets from John Mulaney, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, and Karen Kilgariff. Festival favorite Daniel Kitson was the final performer of the evening with a 12 minute set that saw him chastise the audience over their reaction to Todd Barry's appearance and pointed out that everyone went along with the "mean boys" (Cross and Benjamin). The show ended with the 2nd ever screening of Cross and Bejamin's "Paid Programming", a mock informercial that aired a handful of times on Adult Swim last fall. The 11 minute short was meant to be aired at 4AM and didn't have any mention of the creators. And with that the 3rd Annual Festival came to a close. 9 shows, 3 venues, 25 velvet paintings of Eugene and 1 angry Todd Barry.

Check out the pictures and reviews from previous nights: NIGHT 1, NIGHT 2 and NIGHT 3. NIGHT 4 continued below...

Eugene Mirman

John Wesley Harding

John Wesley Harding

John Wesley Harding

John Wesley Harding

Darin Strauss

Darin Strauss

Scott McCaughey

Scott McCaughey

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

John Oliver

John Oliver

John Oliver

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

David Cross

David Cross

Jon Benjamin

Jon Benjamin


John Mulaney

John Mulaney


Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal

David Cross



Karen Kilgariff

Karen Kilgariff

Karen Kilgariff





Eugene Mirman

Daniel Kitson

Daniel Kitson

Daniel Kitson



Check out the pictures and reviews from previous nights: NIGHT 1, NIGHT 2 and NIGHT 3.



Comments (46)

poor todd barry hahaha

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 11:10 AM

YLT setlist?

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 11:11 AM

Todd Barry then made it back to Music Hall for midnight in time to play drums on a Misfits cover with Superchunk? That man is magic.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 11:16 AM

Setlist From JWH's myspace.

Poems – All
Intro - JWH & Eugene
Top of the Bottom – JWH & The English UK
Reading – Darin Strauss
Buckner's Bolero - Scott McCaughey & The English UK w. Ira Kaplan
Aw Shit Man - Scott McCaughey & The English UK w. Ira Kaplan
Comedy – Eugene Mirman
Mrs Robinson – JWH & Eugene Mirman
Are you a Hypnotist?? – JWH & The English UK
Oh! Pandora - JWH & The English UK
Reading – Colson Whitehead
Comedy – John Oliver
Nothing to Hide – Yo La Tengo
Satellite – Yo La Tengo
Big Day Coming – Yo La Tengo
See My Friends - Yo La Tengo w. Scott McCaughey
Chords of Fame - Yo la Tengo w. JWH
I’m a Believer – Everybody (including two bassists)

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 11:39 AM

That is not a theremin.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 11:40 AM

11:16, he made it back bc he was at the bell house for about 2 minutes. It was funny to see jon glaser force todd on stage but after he left, visibly upset, I felt a little bad and wished we had gotten to welcome him back appropriately. I recognize why david/jon wanted to berate todd for bailing on their old show for a concert, but knitson nailed it when the crowd just went along with the "popular" kids in the room. Eugene was also appalled at how disrespectful the crowd actually was to who he called, one of the greatest nyc comics.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 11:55 AM

11:55: So does that mean it WASN'T a prank? Or it was? I don't get it...

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 12:13 PM

Hi 11:55. It's Todd Barry. I didn't "bail" on David and Jon "for a concert." I was part of the concert. I opened for Superchunk at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was a paying gig, booked well before the Bell House show was offered. When David, Jon and I were doing our "old show" there were several instances that only two of us hosted, because someone (usually David) had a schedule conflict. The day of the Music Hall show, I thought it might be fun to try to run over to the Bell House and do a surprise walk-on, even though I had to rush back to the Music Hall (because Superchunk were gracious enough to let me play drums on their encore). So I scrambled to get a car service over to the Bell House, excited that I'd found away to do both shows. So you can imagine how I felt to walk on stage, only to be booed, and have GARBAGE thrown at me. And then when I had a human reaction to that (wanting to leave the stage) my path was blocked, so I could get more GARBAGE thrown at me. I can only imagine what David Cross' reaction would be if someone did this to him. It would probably involve a lot more than commenting on Brooklyn Vegan. Sorry I didn't get to hear Daniel Kitson's set.

Posted by Todd Barry | September 21, 2010 12:25 PM

Todd, if you didn't comment, I would have thought you were in on it or not actually upset, but i guess you are pissed.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 12:28 PM

As much as I like David Cross' comedy, he seems to have quite an unlikeable personality. Sorry to hear about all that Todd, pretty lame stuff to go down if you ask me.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 12:39 PM

This is 11:55 again, thanks for commenting todd. I know you were part of the superchunk show, and did not "bail" on the show, wrong choice of words. The picture that was painted was that you would rather be at the concert than at the bell house. David/jons entire bit, all night, was about you not being there. So hopefully you see why I got that impression. Obviously, david would have been even more upset had this happened to him. As I said, I wish we could have welcomed you back and heard your set or at least some lively banter with a united twinkle. I, like eugene and knitson seemed to express, was shocked how painful it was to see the "joke" go down. Its one of those jokes thats really funny to talk about/plan, but when it happens, and we, as the crowd, were a part of it, made me feel like an asshole, and that I missed out one something (todd/david/jon all on stage together) that would have been far funnier than the practical joke that occured instead.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 12:48 PM

David Cross' wardrobe is funnier than he is sometimes. Man change your style up dude. You've been wearing the exact same get-up since thats on his last DVD. Yes, the Security hat, it's hilarious - we get it. The braided braclet from 1992, good stuff. But the bad beard and cargo shorts. Stop lifting weights!

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 12:49 PM

YLT setlist just found here:

Posted by Mikey | September 21, 2010 12:56 PM

I can see how the crowd may have thought it was a bit. But for Jon and David to instruct people to boo louder when they say to stop, well, that's fucked up. Todd didn't have a chance under those circumstances. There was no 'out'.

Shame on Dave and Jon for blowing what something that could have ruled for the sake of their own demented egos.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 1:01 PM

yeah if David Cross was just more fashionable it would be different...HA what the fuck are you talking about!?

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 1:08 PM

eugene was letting them know how close todd was with handing them "todd is 5 minutes away" note so i wouldn't say he was completely innocent

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 1:46 PM

This just in: comedian can't take joke.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 2:02 PM

hmm... if you knew todd you'd know that he can take a joke, this looks like it went a little too far

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 2:14 PM

that's just asshole behavior.

read david's book, listen to the sub pop album, hell, throw the Squeakuel on for a bit, and tell me that dude's not over.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 2:16 PM

did they throw hummus?

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 2:18 PM

David Cross lifts weights? What?

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 2:54 PM

It might have been in poor taste in retrospect, but I was there. There wasn't a single person in the crowd who didn't scream/boo as loud as they could when Todd got onstage.

Cross is funnier than Barry, and was HILARIOUS throughout the show on Sunday despite this one little incident. I would've liked to see all three onstage together (even though this wasn't going to happen - Todd was going to come on for a solo set for 10 minutes and then leave) and regret that I didn't get to see Todd's set, but it was honestly a sight to see. The only reason it comes off as so terrible in hindsight is because Todd Barry actually got pissed off by the prank.

If you ask me, the fact that a crowd managed to piss off "one of the greatest NY comedians" so easily was quite a sight to see. Todd usually goes into the audience and works them; this time the tables got turned a little.

I guess being forced back onstage by Glaser while garbage was being thrown was a bit much, but... meh.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 3:41 PM

"Cross is funnier than Barry, and was HILARIOUS throughout the show on Sunday "

That's your opinion dude.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 4:22 PM

Do people really think "tables got turned" or that a comedian (or anyone) should like being booed or get garbage thrown at? because he is a comedian, he should take it? Makes no sense to me. The "joke" of booing someone off stage does not deserve that name.. It's cheap, so easy...

Posted by L | September 21, 2010 5:06 PM

Super fun to see Todd come out to drum for the Superchunk encore. Here's hoping for a Matter of Trust reunion...

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 5:26 PM

Todd's was great at Superchunk and the crowd loved him. Awesome that he got to drum with them, too

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 6:52 PM

Todd, if you're still out there-

The reason I booed you is because I thought the idea of booing one of the most talented comedians in the world who I am a huge fan of to be, I'm sorry, hilarious. And that wouldn't apply to just anyone either (Todd you have "the face" that makes you so know what I mean)

Honestly, I and many in the audience were not sure if this was (and still is) some sort of Andy Kaufman gag - I guess we'll never know.

And hey give the audience some credit here, I'm not sure anyone threw anything harder than a flimsy plastic cup (ok maybe a bottle), this wasn't tila tequila. If had gotten ugly, rest assured your fans would have jumped in.

A word on the festival - this year it had a different tone. Remember once (probably at rififi) Eugene said "Believe it or not, there is a whole genre of comedy where comedians just pick on the audience". Well as smart as Kitson was Friday night, that's how I felt after an hour of it, and that feeling of getting picked on bled into Sunday. You guys know it's risky because you might get someone in the audience like Andy who's got a big mouth.

Now, if I may quote one of my favorite videos from the original Tinkle at Pianos - "You've been burned!" (and where's the compilation DVD?)

Posted by Remember Pianos | September 21, 2010 7:51 PM

stop being so white, people!

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 8:55 PM

after seeing david cross for first and last time at ATP i can assure you all that he is a garbage of a human being, a disgrace to the jewish race.

Posted by me | September 22, 2010 12:25 AM

todds great and david played one of the best characters on tv so suck it haters

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 1:35 AM

did todd and david make up yet?

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 9:52 AM

i think the problem with indie/alt/whatevs comedy shows is that everyone in the audience thinks they're also comedians, when they're really just a bunch of social misfits, so disaster occurs whenever they try and be funny.

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 10:36 AM

I'm just gonna stay home. These comedy shows are dangerous.

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 11:20 AM

10:36: You hit the nail on the head, but just to add, people like the ones in the audience are like that in general too.

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 11:50 AM

jews aren't a race. nice try on the humor, though. not really, actually.

And yes, David Cross has been over since he admitted himself in an interview posted on here in 2007 before the final Comedians of Comedy Tour that he had to work his way up to writing funny material again. Problem is, it's been three+ years and he's still as unfunny as he was that night at Irving Plaza.

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 12:04 PM

10:36 and 11:50 - you probably arent funny

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 12:23 PM

12:23: Looks like I hit a nerve, haha!

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 1:45 PM

Gavin Chinese, Gavin play joke, Gavin go peepee on your potentially manufactured rift:

Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2010 9:59 PM

I absolutely love the tons of meta-justification for David Cross acting like an asshole to Todd Barry!

Fanboys, got news for you: David Cross is an asshole. And having garbage thrown at you is not some meta-comedy ironic bullshit. It is having garbage thrown at you.

How about I meta hit a comedy nerd in the head with a baseball bat, then toss him in the Gowanus Canal. Dude! So meta! It was assault, but because I did it in the context of a joke it's fucking hilarious.

You dinks are hilarious!

Oh and David Cross, let us know when you get cancer.

Posted by Anonymous | September 23, 2010 1:34 AM

1:34AM: Meta? It seemed pretty cut and dry to everyone. And everyone was in on it, Eugene, that stage manager girl backstage, etc.

Nice ending with the "cancer" thing. Get some rest and a job, you are up waaay too late for a Wednesday night.

Posted by Anonymous | September 23, 2010 7:24 AM

I really thought that it was just a joke and that's all it was. Kind of like boo-ing the bad guy at the pantomime. How Todd Barry didn't realise it was a joke is beyond me. People (including those on stage) were laughing along with the booing which would have obviously given the game away.

My guess is that this is all bullshit but I am not falling for....oh ...wait.

Posted by Chris | September 23, 2010 6:09 PM

Cross killed all night. His sets have gotten weak--which he'll readily admit, but as far as just off the cuff work, especially with Benjamin. There's nobody better. I've seen him just screwing around on stage a fair amount in the past few years and its better than many comedians prepared material (unfort. its better than his prepared material, too, which, again, he knows.)

The Barry thing was hilarious. It was a great prank. Very well executed. Todd should give his indignation bit a rest. I get him being shocked at the time, but after realizing he'd been had shouldve given kudos to Cross and Benjamin for crushing him...and he should immediately begin planning his vengence.

Posted by Ross | September 23, 2010 7:42 PM

David Cross kicked me out of his comedy group(Cross Comedy)after two weeks but was kind of evasive about why.And he generally would not talk to me and tended to laugh at me rather than with me.Granted this was 20 years ago.

Posted by Steve Burstein | December 13, 2010 11:36 AM

I think anyone in NYC who has done a show with Todd Barry is WELL AWARE of the fact that he truly cannot take a joke and ANY criticism of himself at all. I met him once, well, he was posing next to someone more famous then him who I actually wanted to meet and who was trying to talk to me, and Barry was creepy, hit on my friend and seemed mad we were not insanely impressed by him. He was a total ego maniac. I asked a comedian friend of mine who has done shows with Barry and had it confirmed. Barry is an asshole who cannot take a joke. He walked out on a booked show once when he found out he wasn't the headliner. And called everyone there an asshole. I would have thrown garbage too.

Posted by Cross Rules | February 14, 2011 2:53 AM

Cross Rules: You obviously are lying. Please, get a life.

Posted by Dave | August 16, 2012 9:18 AM

I don't know Todd Barry personally, but I find what Cross Rules said about him hard to believe. The few encounters I've had with Todd have shown him to be a pretty genuine down to earth guy, without ego. Nice try though.

Posted by Anonymous | August 16, 2012 9:50 AM

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