I have seen more comedy in the last week and a half than I have seen in my entire life so far. Catching a few shows at the Sydney Comedy Festival or (as much as I love it) The Oriental Hotel in Newcastle has nothing on this. The experiences are not even in the same ball park.
My days have been spent reading and editing an enormous quantity of reviews. We have more than 30 writers and sub-editors working on The Pun and I’m in charge of overseeing all of them. I was going to try and count how many shows we’re reviewing but I was up until 2am last night watching comedians belt out rock hits and I’m too tired to do that kind of maths. There’s a lot ok? Like a really large amount. Every evening between about seven and ten PM I descend into a minor state of panic. This is because, if anything goes wrong when our reviewers are out doing their thing, I’m the one they call. Luckily there have been very few crises, and only minor ones. I’m almost able to relax now but I can’t eat dinner without my phone on the table.
My nights have been spent seeing comedy (surprise, surprise). I’ve seen at least two shows basically every night since I arrived. At the time of writing that’s 17 shows in total and 10 more definitely confirmed (plus at least one more trip to the box office planned). That isn’t even a crazy number of shows by MICF standards. I could quite easily have seen a hell of a lot more (but possibly not have also edited a website and not become totally destitute). Basically, I am completely exhausted.
One of the best things about being in Melbourne at comedy time is the almost unrelenting joy which is ‘spot the comedian‘. I’ve had endless hours of fun, wandering past Town Hall (and occasionally sitting on a bench outside when I have time to kill). Last weekend I was continually elbowing Alex in the ribs and hissing “comedian!” A largely futile exercise given that a lot of the people in question were slightly obscure so he didn’t really know who I was talking about. Plus a few of the big name people seem to have grown beards in order to remain incognito. This is simply an obstacle to the hard-core ‘spot the comedian’ player. Seriously. Its like spot-o but with comics. It’s the best.
My other favourite game (and not one I had planned to play) is ‘find the Henson‘. For those of you who don’t know, I’m something of an art nerd. Bill Henson, after surrealist photographer Man Ray, is my favourite artist. This has absolutely nothing to do with comedy but I have accidentally chanced upon no less than THREE random Henson’s. Last night I had a drink with Ian and there was one of the Paris Opera series just hanging outside the female toilets! And because you probably do not know what that means, let me put it like this- I was at least as excited about that photo as the fact that we spent most of the evening sitting at a table beside Mark Watson and his family (comedian!).
One of the weirdest things, not being from Melbourne, is that all the friends I would usually drag along to comedy are hundreds of miles away. I don’t mind seeing comedy alone, I never have. But there’s something a little bit sad about sitting alone at a show which only has 15 or 20 audience members. Or, like last night, being unable to dance at a gig because I didn’t have anyone to dance with.
I can’t tell you how incredible actually, finally being here is. And if this post is making you jealous (which is part of the point) you should come next year. For real. There is literally nothing to compare.
It’s a total blast.
If you haven’t already, head across to The Pun and have a look around. It isn’t just a great source of info for those on the ground at MICF, its also a good way of knowing which comedians to watch in the coming year. Plus you can read my super gushy Dead Cat Bounce review. And you people seem to find amusement in me fan-girling about Dead Cat Bounce.