Barrett was born in Bondi, Australia, the son of George and Marguerite Barrett. He left school at 14 to do a few odd jobs before taking on a trade as a butcher around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He gave up his trade when a hind of beef fell on him and injured his shoulder. While he was on worker's compensation, he completed three writing courses at the WEA (Workers' Educational Association). When his sickness benefits ran out he worked in various jobs, DJ, barman, or went on the dole. His first writing job was gag writing for disc jockeys on Radio 2SM. He also signed on with a casting agent and started acting in commercials and television series and appeared in what he says are 'two classic A-grade clunkers'; the movies Bullamakanka and The Empty Beach.
Do the Mud Crab Boogie! Extreme Water Polo is the water polo of the 90s. And when Les Norton catches the semi-final on TV he is amazed to see that the man behind Extreme Polo is his old mate, Neville 'Nizegy' Nixon. So when Neville calls out of the blue and asks Les to drive the Murrumbidgee Mud Crabs up to Sydney for the final, Les takes him on. But things are never as simple as they seem and Les finds himself drawn into an hilarious adventure involving the Mud Crabs.