Night of Laughter

The 20th Melbourne International Comedy Festival ended just yesterday. The Comedy Festival held annually for a month during autumn here in Melbourne is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, according to its website. This year, they started a bit late because they waited for the recent Melbourne Commonwealth Games to finish first.

Every year since I moved to Australia all those years ago, I tuned in on the TV around autumn time to watch The Comedy Gala show which was basically a sampler of the best comedians who had shows during the Comedy Festival month. Before moving to Melbourne though, I thought that the comedians at the Gala were in Melbourne just for that one show.

I only first heard about the actual Comedy Festival when I was applying for a job in Melbourne back in 2004. I missed it though because I only moved from Canberra to Melbourne around July. The following year, I missed it again. That time, I was just too lazy to go see any of the shows. You know how it is. “The Festival is held here. And since we live here, we can always go in the future.” To tell you the truth, I really didn’t even bother to look up any information regarding the event. I didn’t know what shows were there or how long the festival was on.

This year, we almost gave it a miss again. However, when we went to the Lion King musical last Wednesday night, we noticed the well lit Melbourne Town Hall with a lot of people gathered around it. It was only after seeing that did I want to be a part of the festival.

The unfortunate part of it was that by the time I wanted to actually buy tickets to see some shows, there were only a few days ago till the Comedy Festival ends. That meant that gigs were getting fully booked quicker.

It was also very difficult to choose between the shows. Some of those shows I wanted to go to were on very late (10pm onward). And some are going to be shown at the same time as another show I wanted to go to.

Originally, I just wanted to go to the popular acts like Arj Barker’s. I know he’s funny because I’ve seen him multiple times in various Comedy Gala shows. And on this year’s Gala, I found Stephen K Amos and Charlie Pickering very hilarious so I wanted to see their shows, too.

I was also thinking of going to the popular Aussie comedians like Dave Hughes, Judith Lucy and Wil Anderson. The problem however was that their shows were some of the more expensive in the festival. I reasoned to myself that I could still hear Dave Hughes on Nova FM every morning and watch Wil Anderson and Dave on The Glass House show on TV. That leaves Judith but I figured she’d always be around so I could always catch her later.

In the end though, I just wanted to see Arj Barker’s show and one or two cheap shows by lesser known comedians. I heard John Safran interview comedian Michael Chamberlin on his Sunday Night Safran radio show on Triple J so I got a good idea as to the type of comedy Michael will be performing.

Come Friday night, we were set to watch Arj and Michael but when I got to the ticket office, they told me Arj was sold out! At the end of the day, we just got to see Michael’s show. Well, at least we got to save some money.

After buying the ticket, we still had some time to spare before the 8pm showing at the Regent Room in the Melbourne Town Hall. We went upstairs into the mezzanine to look for the room. We found that the mezzanine was filled with advertisement cards of the Comedy Festival shows as well as four Macs on display.

Since we didn’t have a real camera along (apart from the camera built-in on my mobile phone), I was pleased to see that the Macs came equipped with web-cams. At least we could have a better souvenir photo of our night at the festival. It’s also good that I figured out how to send the web-cam photos we took with the Mac.

Anyway, I digressed. We soon found our way to the Regent Room where there was a queue to get in. The corridor where we waited stank of cigarette smoke so I was itching to get in the room. Thankfully, the room was smoke-free.

It was actually a small room, only good enough to fit about 40 or so people at a time. Well, at least even if we sat way out back, the performer would still be quite near.

Michael’s show was titled Michael Chamberlin and the Ten Commandments. I knew beforehand that it would make jabs at the Catholics and Catholicism somewhat because of his interview with Safran. I admit that most of it was very funny except for the parts where he was being extra irreverent. I thought I’d be able to take it but I was just too uncomfortable with such jokes, I found out.

All in all, it was still great. We only ended up watching that one show. My only regret was that I didn’t get into the whole Comedy Festival spirit earlier. Next year, I’ll look at their show line-up as soon as it is available at their website and plan which shows to watch and when. I definitely won’t miss it next year.

Published in: on May 8, 2006 at 9:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Money is in the details

Our car insurance was up for renewal last month and the insurer has sent us a renewal notice a few weeks prior. It listed all the details of our car as well how much we owe to renew the said insurance for another year. The bill lists different options to pay and I immediately scheduled an payment through our bank account to automatically pay it a few days before it is due.

A couple of days before the insurance was due, I got an email receipt from the bank confirming that the payment has been forwarded to the insurer. A week passed and I thought that we would have received a receipt from the insurer but our postbox remained empty. Fearing that the receipt was waylaid (wouldn’t be the first time), I asked hubby to call the insurance company to confirm if they have gotten the payment and if they’ve sent the receipt yet.

I previously noticed that the bill the insurance company sent us have our address correct (hey, we got the bill, didn’t we?). Yet, on the upper right hand side of bill it states that the postcode of the insured address is 3183 – the postcode of our old apartment. I didn’t think it was important enough to have it corrected as the mailing address includes our correct postcode anyway. But as hubby was put in a holding queue, I asked him to have it corrected.

Good thing too, as we got a $152 refund because of it! As it turned out, the insurance amount we paid was based on that old postcode. When we had it corrected, the insurance we were supposed to pay was reduced accordingly, perhaps because this postcode is less risky.

Note to self: Never underestimate the power of one seemingly irrelevant detail in your future bills. You never know how much that mistake may cause you.

Published in: on May 8, 2006 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment