Comedian Robert Baril on Russia, dating a grandma, and his new album “TMI”

Robert Baril // Photo courtesy Robert Baril

For Robert Baril, there is no such thing as TMI.

The Twin Cities comedy veteran has been one of the busiest and most consistent performers over the course of the past decade. Whether he’s talking about his personal life (he’s currently engaged to a grandmother, which is the premise of one of his more popular jokes), or his political beliefs (Baril does an incredible job of weaving in material about Trump, Russia, and the political piñata of the moment without necessarily being polarizing to audiences), Baril is a comedian who has found his voice since the release of his debut album, “Sex and Politics,” came out in 2017.

“My first album was the culmination of seven or eight years of performing,” Baril recalls. “It was tough because I had to relearn the timing and remember the exact wording.”

This week, Baril celebrates the release of his second album, “TMI,” which is more reflective of who he is today.

“It was all fresh this time around,” he says. “It’s all stuff I wrote within the past two years, so it was all second nature.”

There’s still plenty of politically-charged material on the new album, which Baril says received a mixed reaction even during the live recording show at Sisyphus back in February.

“The audience for the late show was a lot tighter than I expected,” he says. “I mean, not about the dating a grandma stuff. That’s pretty universal. No one there was anti-banging grandmas. But the cop stuff, the priest stuff, even some of the Trump stuff didn’t go over quite like I had expected. But that’s okay. Part of what I wanted to do is push myself and push the boundaries. So I kept those reactions on there. I think it’s important to get genuine crowd reactions. If you think a joke is funny, that’s great. And if not, there’s another bit coming right after it.”

To celebrate the album release, he’s hosting a massive release party at Sisyphus on Wednesday night, with performances by Bryan Miller, Moe Yaqub, and Corey Adam, in addition to some new material from the man of the hour himself.

“I’m at a point now in my career where I’m still featuring in some places, but I’m doing a lot of headlining on the road,” Baril says. “A lot of my generation and the people who I grew up with [in comedy], they’re at the same level and so we don’t get to perform together anymore. I wanted to have them on my show because they’re great comics headlining on their own, so I want to put together a show of people who I don’t get to spend time with as much anymore.”

While he sees this album release is the culmination of years of work, he says that putting the material to bed is just as rewarding as putting it out in the world.

“Some guys have been on the road for 40 years, doing the same act, and they haven’t updated anything since the Clinton presidency. Then again, that impeachment stuff might be a hot take again, so maybe they knew something I didn’t. The point is, I don’t want to be one of those guys still doing the same act for the next 20 years. My style is a lot of current events, and things that are ripped from the headlines. For better or for worse, those have a shelf life. But I think regardless of that, if you listen to this album you get an idea of who I am as a writer and a performer, and you know that if you see me perform in a year or two, or if I get a late-night TV spot, you aren’t going to see the same cat jokes, or whatever.”

Baril pause. “I don’t have any cat jokes, but maybe that’ll be the whole third album.”

Beyond working on new material, Baril is putting in work as a writer. He recently had a short scene that he wrote selected and performed in the Harbor Revue variety show in Plymouth, and was involved in the 48 Hour Film Project this past summer. He says he plans to continue working on sketches and short films, but for now the focus is on this new album.

“I’m really proud of it,” he says. “You can see an evolution as a writer and a performer, and the kind of risks I’ll take material-wise on stage. If people are into my comedy, they’ll like the album.”

IF YOU GO:

Robert Baril Album Release
Sisyphus Brewing
Oct. 23, 8 p.m.
$15 – First 15 people get a copy of Baril’s CD/DVD “TMI”
Click here for tickets