Pedaling for laughs: ‘Open Bike’ is the stand up comedy show you didn’t know you needed

Pedaling for laughs: ‘Open Bike’ is the stand up comedy show you didn’t know you needed

Words by Talia Rinaldo

Going down as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Tears of laughter and pain; pick your poison. Maryellen George strips back comedy’s ego with her Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Open Bike, where audience and comedians alike pedal to create this fun and inclusive spin on stand-up comedy.

What you need to know

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

Keep up with the latest comedy news here.

If you’re looking for your run of the mill, sticky-carpet-stand-up pub night, with a thick scent of testosterone in the air, Open Bike is not for you.

Brainchild of comedian, writer, and fully qualified spin-instructor-fitness-extraordinaire Maryellen George, Open Bike pushes the pedals, and boundaries, of what is typically associated with stand-up comedy.

Audiences can expect a fun, inclusive, and ego-free spin class/comedy show where you can simply roll the pedals 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 you’re feeling is from laughter, or the fact you’re in a 90-minute spin class you just forgot about.

Facilitated by Bits & Pieces Comedy, the online platform championing the representation and careers of women and underrepresented comedians, Open Bike isn’t concerned with the normalities of traditional stand up comedy. 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 Bits & Pieces Comedy and booking international Zoom stand up shows, has a physical, in-person space to bring forward previously-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.

Catch Open Bike on Wednesday March 31, Saturday April 10, Wednesday April 14 or Saturday April 17. Tickets and show information available here.