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Tickets now on sale!

It’s true – you can now buy your tickets to the 2011 Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour. You’ll find all the links you need by clicking on Book Tickets, above.

We’ve been busily crossing the “t”s (as in Tarbosaurus, trilobite etc.) and dotting the “i”s (iron pyrite, icthyosaur…) these last few weeks, and we’ve just about finalised our exciting line-up of comedy tour guides – most of whom have never conducted the tour before! Watch this space for an announcement this week. As part of our error-checking process, though, we’ve once again had to make a slight alteration to our schedule. As with last year, that pesky Good Friday – calculated as it is by arcane, unscientific methods – once again falls during the run of the tour. So, despite what it says in the printed programme, there’s no tour on Friday, April 22 – but there are still seven tours for you to sink your brains into, and you can get in and buy your tickets now!

Vale, Ralph McLean

On Christmas day, Melbourne’s arts scene lost a tireless supporter, the much-loved Ralph McLean. You’ll find no shortage of tributes, farewells, words of heartfelt thanks and fond memories of Ralph online. He created and in many ways was the Channel 31 arts programme Yartz, and that was only the most visible of his contributions. I was interviewed by Ralph several times, and like most of us in the arts community, I found he quickly and easily became a friend.

Below is the piece he filmed with me for the 2009 Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour, one of almost 1,000 Yartz clips you can find on YouTube, and I’d encourage you to have a look through them. There’s also a lovely tribute edited together by Scott Gooding from years of archive footage, which you can find here. You’ll notice that even in an interview about something as possibly frivolous as jokes in a museum, Ralph asks questions that force your interview outside the realm of free PR; “what’s the cultural worth of seeing dinosaurs?” is not an ignorant question, it cut to the heart of the matter and forced me to consider what I do, on the spot, on camera, in a new light. And that was Ralph: he never let anyone get away with mediocrity. Do what you do because it matters, he seemed to say, and be able to tell me why.

Farewell Ralph; we’ll all miss you, and we’ll never forget you.

It’s official: we’re coming back for another year!

Yes, the popular Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour will return in 2011 – bigger and better than ever before! Once again, Ben McKenzie and two other top comedy guides will show you the wonders of the Museum’s Science and Life gallery. Obligingly, as they have every year since the tours began, Melbourne Museum have updated the gallery with two new exhibits: 600 Million Years: Victoria Evolves and Dynamic Earth.

600 Million Years: Victoria Evolves is a fascinating look at the evolution of life on Earth, and the species that can be found right here in Victoria. There are fossils, models, live animals and even live dinosaurs! (No, I promise you: they move and everything.)

Dynamic Earth lays bare the secrets of our planet in an amazing collection of rocks, gems, minerals and crystals. Learn everything from the inner workings of the Earth to its relationship with the moon and how the thousands of known minerals and gems are formed and used. You might even learn what the Earth of your distant descendants might look like – assuming we don’t all evacuate to Mars or something, of course.

The 2011 Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour will take place in the final two weeks of the 2011 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The one-hour tours will run Wednesday to Saturday at 6 PM from April 13 to 23, 2011.

Watch this space, as always, to find out more about our tour guides, and other tours, as the festival approaches!

Museums are still funny…

…even if we haven’t shown you around one for a while.

Remember you can follow our Twitter stream where we will occasionally be giving you a live commentary on museum exhibits; in the last few months we’ve been to Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, Melbourne Museum’s new Victoria Evolves gallery, the Tim Burton exhibition at ACMI and the European Masters exhibition at NGV.

And, while we’re gearing up for new projects for the new year, here’s a (very brief) snippet of our last live tour from May, when we were at the Australian National Maritime Museum talking about mythic creatures – and, in this clip, the sailors who encountered them…

“Mythical Mayhem” indeed!

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Mythic Creatures Comedy Tour on Saturday; it was a whole lot of fun! We managed to get a little press coverage, including a piece in the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.

There were some cameras present for the event, so hopefully I’ll get to post some photos soon; and with any luck, this won’t be the last time Museum Comedy will visit the Australian National Maritime Museum. However, there won’t be a repeat of the Mythic Creatures tour – the creatures themselves are heading off to other shore in only a couple of weeks, so if you’ve not seen the exhibit yet, get down there now!

Big thanks to Scott Andrew and all the staff and volunteers at the ANMM, and especially to my fellow tour guides, Dave Bloustien and Amanda Buckley. We had a kraken great time!

Mythic Creatures Comedy Tour update

It’s the week of the Mythic Creatures Comedy Tour at the Australian National Maritime Museum, and we have an important change to the program! We’re now doing one show only starting at 6PM (for complimentary pre-show drinks) on Saturday, May 8 – so if you want to come, you’d better book!

If you want to join Ben McKenzie, Dave Bloustien and Amanda Buckley for an hilarious take on some of the most iconic creatures of myth and legend, plus some of the treasures to be found all year round at the Maritime Museum, you’d better look!

Tickets are still $20 for Maritime Museum members, and $25 for non-members, and you can book by calling the Museum on 02 9298 3655. More information about the Mythic Creatures exhibit is still available at the Maritime Museum web site.

MICF wrap-up and Mythic Creatures Comedy Tour

Well, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has come to an end for another year; congratulations to Museum Comedy guest performer Hannah Gadsby on winning the Festival Director’s Award!

But just because we’re done in Melbourne for another festival, don’t think we’re resting on our laurels – in just a little over two weeks, we begin the Mythic Creatures Comedy Tour!

Creatures out of legend from air, land and sea have invaded the Australian National Maritime Museum – and now’s your chance to experience them in a whole new way! Join the Man in the Lab Coat and Museum Comedy founder Ben McKenzie (+1 Sword, Planet Nerd), 2009 Moosehead Award recipient and Good News Week writer Dave Bloustien (A Complete History of Western Philosophy) and Impro Australia and Beaconsfield: The Musical star Amanda Buckley (The Ultimate Board Game: Unscripted) for an after-hours trip through one of the twelve coolest museums in the world and be introduced to a mix of creatures and maritime treasures!

The Mythic Creatures Comedy Tour is presented by the Australian National Maritime Museum and runs for three shows only from May 6 to 8. Numbers are limited, so be sure to book by calling the Maritime Museum on 02 9298 3655. Tickets are $20 for Museum members, and $25 for non-members.

You can find out more about this visiting exhibit at the Maritime Museum web site.

Last week of Museum Comedy @ MICF 2010!

It’s the final week of Museum Comedy in Melbourne for the 2010 Comedy Festival, and we’re going out with a big bang! As the last week of the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour heads towards being a sell out – see our calendar for booking details – we’re bringing you a cracking line-up for the last of our Lunchtime Comedy gigs:

As usual, you can get your tickets via comedyfestival.com.au, Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 or at the door on the day. This should be our biggest one yet; we’ll see you there!

Tour still selling out!

Just a quick update today – the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour is now sold out for both tonight and tomorrow night! There are still some tickets left for this Saturday and all three shows next week, but if you’re thinking of coming down, don’t wait – book now!

If you miss out on the tour this week, all is not lost – we still have tickets left for Saturday’s Lunchtime Comedy show at noon, where Sarah Bennetto (The King & I), Dave Bloustien (Puppy Fight Social Club), Stella Young (two-time Raw Comedy state finalist) and Rod Quantock (The People We Should Eat First (And How to Cook Them)) will all be regaling us with factual comedy you won’t see anywhere else – not even in their own shows! It’s a smorgasbord of intelligent, nerdy humour, all under the direction of science comedy veteran Ben McKenzie. So come on down!

Tour selling out; Lunchtime going off!

True to form, the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour is starting to sell out, with this Thursday night already full. If you’re planning to see the delights of Melbourne Museum after hours with DeAnne Smith, Alexis Dubus, Andy Muirhead (on Thursdays and Fridays) and Kent Valentine (only on Saturdays), we recommend you book! Check out comedyfestival.com.au, or call Ticketmaster on 1300 660 013.

Meanwhile, our first ever Melbourne Museum Lunchtime Comedy session was a big hit! Audience members’ brains were regaled with Roman history by Andrew McClelland, filled with Phar Lap (in Indonesian!) by Penny Tangey and philosophy by Dave Bloustien, and then tickled with tales of Vikings, computers and bizarre behaviour by Dave Callan.

This weekend we’re doing it all again, and it’s a stellar – sorry, Stella – line-up!

  • Dave Bloustien (Puppy Fight Social Club) gives us a second helping, this time on ancient Greek history;
  • tale-teller Sarah Bennetto (Storyteller’s Club, The King & I) is unscrambling the history of the world’s favourite word game, Scrabble;
  • two-time Raw Comedy state finalist and frequent Political Asylum guest Stella Young will be educating us on the secret life of animals, including the sex life of ducks; and
  • cannibalism advocate, comedy historian and living national treasure Rod Quantock (The People We Should Eat First (And How To Cook Them), In The Beginning: A Walking Tour of the Birth of Melbourne Comedy) takes a break from preparation for the coming apocalypse and instead claims he’ll be talking about “Pre-Columbian art between 11.45AM and 8.15pm BC”.

Come and join us at noon on Saturday April 10th! Tickets $18/$12/$14 groups (six or more) from the usual places: comedyfestival.com.au, Ticketmaster on 1300 660 013 or at the door on the day.

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