The 30th Birthday activities are well hidden in the programme. I only found out in time for last weekend’s serve! Each Sunday afternoon, Rod Quantock gives a tour of the 30th anniversary exhibition, followed by a live panel discussion hosted by Cal Wilson.
Rod Quantock’s tour is not a boring stroll through an exhibition. The man who has been called an “absurdist comic genius” covered the history of comedy since the universe was born, mostly out beside St Kilda Road. It was not only a history lesson, but a glimpse back to his infamous bus tours. While Rod led us around, carrying a long stick, he accosted all manner of random passers-by, involving them in the lesson. Trevor, the chicken which used to adorn the stick, was missing. You’ll find him behind glass in the exhibition itself, marking the end of an era. One of my more vivid comedy memories is of Trevor, atop stick, being used as a pool cue at a police social club that was visited on one of Rod’s tours year ago.
Afterwards, we sat in on the panel discussion. We were treated to Cal Wilson, Damian Callinan, Corinne Grant and Dave O’Neil chatting about their experiences in the middle decade of the Comedy Festival. If you want to hear about the tours and the pubs and the worst place they visited (yes, unanimous decision on that), you can listen to the podcast. As Cal says at the end, she’ll be back with “a bunch of young whippersnappers” next weekend to cover the most recent decade of Aussie comedy.
It’s a fun way to spend Sunday arvo. It’s free. What more could you ask for?
Craig Macbride enjoys some absurdity in his comedy and is pleased to see that Rod Quantock can still provide that, even in 2016.
One more 30th Birthday tour will be run on 17 April at 2pm, followed at 3pm by Cal Wilson’s live discussion. Both are at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Both are free! The venue is accessible.
Check out our guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for more great shows.