Art & Events Interview Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Charlie George: Cultural Comedy Tours

By | Published on Friday 9 July 2021

I was really excited when I heard about some fab events coming up at UCL’s Grant Museum Of Zoology, courtesy of Cultural Comedy Tours, because I am very fond of museums and I am very fond of comedy.

This month two comedians are set to take audiences on socially distanced tours at the museum, and I would love to be there!

First up is Charlie George, who’ll be leading tours twice this week, with an early and a late event on 16 Jul.

To find out more about the tours, and about Charlie herself, I arranged a quick chat.

CM: Can you start by explaining a bit about the format of these cultural comedy tours. What should audiences expect…?
CG: Audiences can expect to uncover some hidden historical gems, creepy and fascinating artifacts and scintillating specimens from our evolutionary history, all told through a very silly, fun and interactive comedic lens.

Instead of professional tour guides, they’ve let us comedians loose in the museum! We have been briefed of course, but hey we can’t be relied upon to not use our creative licence… think ‘Night At The Museum’ but funnier than Ben Stiller’s face

CM: Was a pre-existing knowledge of the museum and zoology a requirement for doing the tours?
CG: Haha I hope not, because if so I am in serious trouble for what I put on my application form… I did once ferociously bond with an orangutan at Bristol Zoo, maybe that counts for something!

CM: Is this something that’s actually educational, or is it more focused on the entertainment element?
CG: It depends on what you define as educational.

I have learnt many valuable lessons in museums, like it’s rude to shout “THAT DOESN’T EVEN SOUND REAL” when someone’s showing you something that’s gone extinct. Or “REMINDS ME OF MY AUNTIE JULIE” when confronted with the bones of an eight meter whale.

But ideally you will both learn and laugh.

CM: How did you come to be doing this? And what attracted you to it?
CG: Somebody asked and I said yes! I’ve always been an eager beaver, which is nice because there’s actually a skull of a beaver in the museum that also looks very keen. I like history, science, museums and am a bit of a nerd, so if the glasses fit I guess you’ve got to use them to stare at a brain in a jar!

CM: So you’re fond of spending time in museums? Would we find you hanging out there on your days off?
CG: Yes, I’m a huge fan. Museums and galleries are my go to, in London, a great way to while away an afternoon expanding your mind and getting new perspectives on things. Also, I live in a small shared flat so it’s a wonderful opportunity to experience a higher ceiling and walls you can put pictures on.

CM: Can we find out a bit more about you now? How did you end up in comedy, was it where you always wanted to be?
CG: If I knew myself you could! I’m a queer, mixed-raced working class, ex-Jehovah’s Witness from Swindon, at least that’s what would be on the label on my foot if I was a specimen in a jar.

It’s been a wild ride in life and getting to comedy. I used to be a gymnast, dancer and then circus performer, but had always written as well and used to write plays and for live performance anyway, so when I came to comedy a few years ago, completely by accident, it all – along with my madcap life experiences – seemed to align in me becoming a writer/performer.

I actually always wanted to be the back end of a pantomime donkey or the woman tied to the train tracks in a silent movie, so it’s not where I thought I’d end up, but there’s still time to realize my true dreams of being a hugely successful rear end or a damsel in distress!

CM: What hopes and ambitions do you have for the future?
CG: To enjoy the finer things in life, like watching Pixar films under the duvet with crisps. Belly laughs with loved ones. Good health. To keep making people laugh for as long as I can muster.

CM: It’s been a tough time for the industry of course – how have you managed through lockdown?
CG: I have managed by taking up a new type of meditation practice, where you inhale deeply, turn to face every corner of your room and exhale whilst screaming. My housemates have asked me to move out. But I feel more centred.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
CG: I am doing a triple bill work in progress show at Top Secret Comedy Club on 19 Jul, 2Northdown on 15 Aug and Battersea Arts Centre on 29 Sep, all tickets via this link. Three women of colour comedians for the price of one white man post a me-too scandal! What’s not to love?

Charlie George Is Your Tour Guide’ takes place at The Grant Museum, UCL, on 16 Jul, Katie Pritchard Is Your Tour Guide follows on 23 Jul. Book your tickets for both here.

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