Peddling For Laughs: ‘Open Bike’ and the spin stand up you didn’t know you needed

Peddling For Laughs: ‘Open Bike’ and the spin stand up you didn’t know you needed

Words by Paddy Coppinger

Tears of laughter and pain; pick your poison. Maryellen George strips comedy’s ego with her show ‘Open Bike’ in the Richmond spin studio turned stand-up comedy venue, where audience and comedians alike peddle to create this fun and inclusive spin on stand-up comedy.

If you’re looking for your run of the mill, sticky-floor-stand-up pub night, with a thick scent of testosterone in the air and a “nothing is off limits” attitude, Open Bike is not for you.

Brainchild of comedian, writer, and fully qualified spin instructor-fitness-extraordinaire Maryellen George, ‘Open Bike’ for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, pushes the peddles, and boundaries, of what is typically associated with stand-up comedy.

The key takeaways

  • Open Bike, a comedy show inside a spin studio, arrives at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
  • The show is presented by Bits & Pieces, a platform for women and underrepresented comedians
  • Catch the show on Wednesday 31 March, Saturday 10 April, Wednesday 14 April and Saturday 17 April

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Audiences can expect a fun, inclusive, and ego-free spin class/comedy show where you can simply roll the peddles over, or drip with sweat while comedians are put through their paces in five-minute performances (also on bikes), that will leave you confused as to whether the pain your feeling is from laughter, or the fact you’re in a 90-minute spin class you just forgot about.

Facilitated by BitsandPieces Comedy, the online platform championing the representation and careers of women and underrepresented comedians, ‘Open Bike’ isn’t concerned with the normalities of stand-up comedy of old. Rather, it brings stand-up into new, welcoming spaces accessible to more people, and more comedians, at more friendly times.

And if it’s your fitness level that may worry you out of this one, fear not, because “although this will occur in a spin studio and under the guise of a spin class, no fitness or idea-of-what-you’re-doing is required.”

What George is pushing here is a new way to see, experience and participate with comedy, in a welcoming and safe environment, where the less-than-desirable patterns of ego-driven stand up are asked to be left at the door. Having attempted to open her own space in Melbourne after moving from NSW, only to have that foiled come Covid, George now, following her online success with founding BitsandPieces comedy and booking online, international Zoom stand-up shows, has a physical, in person space to bring forward previously muffled and unheard voices, in an all inclusive environment.

With ‘Open Bike’, everyone is in it together. If it’s not the bikes that’ll have the endorphins pumping, it’ll be the endless laughs.

Hosted by United Ride on Swan Street, Richmond, ‘Open Bike’ has four more dates to come over March and April, with 11am shows on Saturdays, and a later 7pm slot on Wednesdays.

Tickets and show information are available here.