We’re back to tour through the Met once again. You in? Great, let’s get started!
We’re back to tour through the Met once again. You in? Great, let’s get started!
Still drenched with culture from a sold out tour of European capitals, Dave and Carl once again tackle that fabled cabinet of curiosities known at the Met.
Join the tour on Saturday, July 19th at 5:30 and let those two, plus these three, whisk you around its cavernous expanses….
Admission to the museum is $20 (seniors are cheaper). Because we enter as an official group with a proper lecture badge, “pay what you want” is not an option for this tour. Fancy Meeting You Here is itself free.
The tour size is extremely limited. Visit http://fmyhcomedy.brownpapertickets.com/ to purchase tickets. This ticket link is INCREDIBLE! It saves Carl 15 minutes of awkwardness. You’ll love it too. When you purchase tickets, you’ll be notified about meeting location, time, etc a few days before the show.
The museum allows us to tour, but does not know anything about groups that visit them, so please do not contact them with questions regarding this tour. Instead, email us at fmyhcomedyATgmail.com and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have.
Now that we’re even more cultured after a trek through Europe, it’s time to put our newly found exotic accents to work and return to the hallowed halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met allows us to tour, but they know nothing about the show so please don’t contact them, just email us with any questions.
This tour takes place on Saturday, 6/21 at 5:30 and we’ll be joined by 3 ace guides:
Joe Garden (The Onion, Adult Swim)
Shaina Feinberg (The Goddamn Dave Hill SHow)
Christina Gausas (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, The Amazing Burt Wonderstone)
The tour size is extremely limited, so please email us at fmyhcomedyATgmail.com to reserve a place. We’ll respond with all the information you’ll need to attend. The show is free but group admission to the museum is $20.
I used to go to galleries for writing inspiration…
When I was in my mid-20s, galleries and museums were a massive source of inspiration for me. I found it useful to look outside my own life, and I love those little potted stories that you get by the side of an exhibit – they spark my imagination. I’ve always written standup about art and I try and get a bit in now, even in a show about politics.
Hieronymus Bosch was an amazing find for me, I was really thrown that I didn’t know about him and I talked about him in my show All of the Planet’s Wonders. Edward Hicks was another one, I loved the story behind Peaceable Kingdom. He did 100 of the paintings, and I had a bit about his wife getting upset with him about it – “I’ve got a present for you?” “Is it another fucking Peaceable Kingdom? Throw it on the pile.”
Not many people talk about art in comedy…
I always wanted to talk about more interesting things than the usual subjects you get on the circuit, things other than wanking. I write standup partly to better myself, so I felt I needed to go to cultural places like museums and galleries to do that. It sort of worked and sort of didn’t – I had interesting things to say and learned about loads of obscure things, but the jokes were still pretty silly and irreverent.
Also a few years ago I was part of a thing called Detours which was part of the Edinburgh art festival and allowed you to gig in unusual places and link up with artists. I did a video about the Scotsman Steps [in Edinburgh] being made out of marble, and another thing with the artist Ellie Harrison about an installation she’d done in the Fruitmarket; I had to write about my response to that. It is good to get a specific brief sometimes – to be presented with something and then it’s up to you to interpret it.
Galleries make me want to play the fool…
When I was a teenager we would go to National Trust houses on school trips. I would do pretend tours to my friends; put on a special voice mainly say things like “… and in a terrible fit of illness he murdered his wife in this very chair!” and just make up silly stories.
I like the idea of the naughtiness of doing something like that – you know what you’re doing is silly and lying and wrong. I’m hoping to be the worst tour guide ever at Tate Modern. It’s all well and good making up wonderful stories but it’s funnier to be belligerent and rude and badly informed.
Actually at uni we did a fake tour of Oxford. We painted this sign beautifully and said we were doing free tours to celebrate 100 years of this company. We got some students to pretend to be German teenagers and I brought them rucksacks which we decorated with Nirvana badges. We were getting people to kiss statues for good luck and lay on the floor and all sorts of things, but I could never keep a straight face. The real tour company found out and followed us about going: “THIS IS A FAKE TOUR.”
I’d rather perform in a gallery than a comedy club…
Comedy clubs don’t really suit me. I’m so much less interested in doing a club than a tour date or a strange, impromptu gig somewhere. It’s partly because big clubby clubs weren’t the sort of place I would go out, so why would I want to be on stage there? It’s also because I never really felt good enough for them. I love places like XS Malarkey and Invisible Dot, but on the whole I’d rather go to weird little nights.
There have been loads of odd ones: I did a Christmas special of Laughter in Odd Places at the Red Gate Gallery in Loughborough Junction; a friend got married at the Thames Barrier and I did some standup for that, pretending to be an awful astronaut doing a talk about the barrier and being really rude. I performed at the Museum of London in the Roman bath exhibit, improvising about it.
I’ve actually done a gig at the Tate Modern before for a really funny artist called Pierre Hughes. Simon Munnery and Robin Ince were there. Pierre had a lot of puppetry in his show so I made some puppets of me and Robin, and each puppet was holding a puppet version of themself. I’ve still got them, they took me hours to make.
• Fancy Meeting You Here – a roving comedy show that takes audiences on tours of cultural landmarks – is at the British Museum on Friday 25 April with Maeve Higgins and Tom Meeten, and at Tate Modern on Saturday 26 April with Josie Long and John Kearns
The Week in Comedy: Stand-up comics lead art gallery tours for Fancy Meeting You Here
It is 4pm on Saturday and our guide at the Tate Modern has just dismissed a stainless steel sculpture as “the leftovers from last night’s dinner party”, spent five minutes talking about a fire door as if it were a piece of conceptual art, and finally told his group to go to Tate Britain. “They have proper paintings there.” If it wasn’t already abundantly clear from his Ray-Bans and offhand manner, he is no ordinary guide, and this is no ordinary Tate tour.
Rather he is the comedian Harry Deansway and this is Fancy Meeting You Here, a pop-up tour of the gallery led by stand-ups. Josie Long is on the second floor in a room of Russian revolutionary art, battling a hangover, swearing loudly and, confusingly, talking about Joseph Wright of Derby. Meanwhile Tom Meeten is leading a group on a merry dance around the empty Turbine Hall, talking entirely in gibberish. Maeve Higgins is standing on a wall outside the café riffing on Tate cake.
The afternoon is the brainchild of two American stand-ups, Dave Hill and Carl Arnheiter who staged their first comedy heist at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009. They had been looking for a venue for a new stand-up night but could not find a back room they liked. Instead, they hit upon the idea of a walking tour, that would start in Washington Square Park, say, “bump into” various stand-ups along the way and end up in a Greenwich Village bar. To test out the walkabout concept, they started at the Met. “Because it’s a controlled environment with several floors, is open late on Fridays and has a rooftop bar”, explains Arnheiter.
It turned out that the Met offered far more than a controlled environment; indeed, that there was something inherently funny about letting comedians loose in the hallowed halls of a museum. The mix of the usual hushed respect for art and the boisterous irreverence of a stand-up set is an explosively silly one. The paintings and sculptures, meanwhile, offer a uniquely dramatic and inspiring backdrop. “We always like to say we’re the only comedy show that takes place on a $350million stage”, says Arnheiter. Since 2009, they have played the Met tens of times, museums in San Francisco and this week the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Stockholm’s Moderna Museet.
In the UK they have played the National Gallery and the British Museum before last Saturday’s debut at Tate Modern. It was a popular choice. Over 200 people signed up (all shows are free; the only cost is museum entrance, if applicable) via the website and had to be split into somewhat chaotic groups. Usually Hill and Arnheiter lead one group, dropping them off with local “guides” or stand-ups along the way. “The only thing we ask of them is that they do not do their regular set”, says Arnheiter.
Tate Modern, it turned out, was particularly ripe for ribbing. Standing in front of a wall of Dan Flavin neons, Hill announced, “These are on loan from the Tate giftshop.” Later he rushed the group through a hall of cubist masterpieces with the pithy assessment, “Everything in this room is bullshit!” It turned a few heads, but that is part of the subversive joy for audiences. Event exhibitions like those at the Hayward by Antony Gormley and, most recently, Martin Creed can be fun but it’s rare to hear belly laughs in a gallery.
Not everyone sees the funny side. Some join the tour by accident and are unimpressed. On Saturday, Long had a contretemps with a security guard who didn’t understand why she was swearing at her group. “We always tell galleries that we want to do a tour,” says Arnheiter. “We don’t necessarily tell them we’re comedians.”
Now back at the Met for the summer, they plan a return to London soon. In the meantime, they are working on a podcast guide for museums they have yet to infiltrate – like The Louvre. “They would never let us in in a million years”, says Arnheiter.
To read this review on The Independent’s website, click here.
Here’s how to find us in London.
The British Museum, first stop in our cultural tour of London on 25th April.
Enter through the main entrance on Great Russell Street. Go straight ahead into the iconic Great Court, then bear left going past the families desk. There’s a group meeting point just to the left of the multimedia guide desk. We’ll be there a bit before 19:00.
Incredible group of guides to introduce you to the treasures of the British Museum. Here Dave & Carl are joined by:
Next up, the Tate Modern (26th April)
Enter through the main entrance on Howard Street. We’ll meet in the lobby there some time before 16:00. Surely someone will make a sign at the last minute that reads “Fancy Meeting You Here” to help you find us.
Another astounding collection of guides for this outing. In addition to Dave and Carl, there”s also:
Lars Berrum & Martin Beyer-Olson
If you’re running late, fashionably or otherwise, for either show we’ll do our best to tweet our location from either @carlarnheiter or @mrdavehill #fmyh
See you then!
I’m sure you’re tired of having visitors from around the world praise your sunny beauty and charming islands – so let’s get right to the point: would you like to spend an afternoon at the museum with us?
Excellent. Dave and Carl will be at the Moderna Museet on 29 April. They will be joined by a charming and hilarious team of comedian guides, including Lars Berrum and Martin Beyer-Olsen (from Norway), Nadia Kamil (from the UK) and Maeve Higgins (from New York via Ireland). We are all eager to meet you and take you on an entertaining stroll through great treasures of Swedish modern art.
Our show is free, but you will need to purchase admission to the museum. If you enter from the Exercisplan, you should come directly to the ticket desk. Admission is currently 120 SEK for adults.
Starting around 18:15, we’ll be waiting for you directly across from the ticket desk – near the espresso bar – trying to look casual and cool; but not so cool that we are above holding up a handmade sign that says “Fancy Meeting You Here!” We’ll also be dressed really flashy and smell delightful. You can’t miss us.
We will set out on our tour at 18:30. If you miss our departure, we will do our best to continually tweet our location in the museum using #fmyh.
Oh, Amsterdam. You lovely thing. The mere thought of entertaining you in springtime is making us giddy.
We have a lovely team of comedian guides who are excited to be leading you on this charming and funny (but possibly factually inaccurate) tour of the Rijksmuseum. Your comedy tour guides (in addition to Dave Hill and Carl Arnheiter) will include: Maeve Higgins, Lars Berrum and Martin Beyer-Olsen (the Norwegians of Comedy) and members of Amsterdam’s own Boom Chicago.
So how are we going to find each other on 4 May? How is this delightful rendezvous going to work?
First, everyone will need to acquire a ticket for entry to the lovely Rijksmuseum. We have 60 complimentary entry tickets. If you were one of the first 60 to RSVP, then our reply email should have mentioned that we will provide you with a free museum entry. For this group, we will meet you in front of the ticket office queue 15 minutes before show time (around 13:45) to distribute the tickets. We’ll be the charming and dashing type holding a sign that says “Fancy Meeting You Here”.
If you were not one of the first 60 to RSVP and/or our response to your email did not specify that we could provide you with free museum admission, then proceed to the ticket window. Please allow at least 20 minutes to get through that line – or, to avoid the lines, buy your ticket in advance online. Tickets are € 15 for adults and all under 18 are free.
Once everyone has their magic entrance ticket, proceed into the East Atrium – towards the shop and cafe. We’ll be waiting there for you (with flowers, or another dumb sign) starting at about 13:45. Our tour will leave the East Atrium around 14:00; but if you are late, we will do our best to tweet our current location at #fmyh.
It’s Carl and Dave, the guys from Fancy Meeting You Here. Exciting news – we’re coming to hang out in your city for a bit, and like most tourists, we thought we’d check out the museums. Come on along, and bring a friend! Who knows, maybe you’ll even meet a new friend. Anything’s possible in [the city you live in], right?
Each museum is happy to have us there, but if you call the museum, please don’t expect them to know the details of the tour. Museum staff have nothing to do with Fancy Meeting You Here and calling the museum will leave you both baffled. So, if you plan to come along on any of these tours, email us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation.
1. The museum you’d like visit with us
2. Your name
3. How many people you’ll be with
And if you have any questions, send them along too, we’ll answer them as quickly as possible. We may even have questions for you! Here are answers to four questions we’ve just asked ourselves on your behalf.
How long does each tour last?
It varies, but usually about 70 – 80 minutes
Does it cost a lot of money to join a group of professionals such as yourselves at Fancy Meeting You Here?
While it’s true that museums exist solely to flaunt their treasures and make you feel sad about how you’ve furnished your apartment, Fancy Meeting You Here is surprisingly inexpensive, as it’s free. That said, after the tour if you’d like to leave a little something in a chalice or ancient urn, we’ll happily use it later at your favorite drinking establishment.
Museums are enormous, where will we meet?
Relax, that’s the sort of information you’ll find in your confirmation email. We hate leaving people behind.
Can I bring children?
We’re not here to tell you how to parent, but sure, feel free to bring them along if you’d like them to learn some colorful new words. At the very least you’ll have to answer some follow-up questions about anatomy.
We can’t wait to see you at [your local cultural institution]!
Last Friday, you were probably standing in line outside a Wal-Mart or a Best Buy or Big Lots – I was pretty tempted to hit Big Lots myself, that decorative fireplace mantle they had on sale for $249 ($190 off!) really caught my eye. I was set to buy three and consider my gift giving done.
Instead, I was here at The Met for their incredible doorbuster sale. Everything was up to 50% off making them half-off priceless! It was too much to resist.
As you might imagine, it was quite a scene, chaos sheathed in etiquette, which is about as chaotic as the social types get. A lot of chauffeurs and butlers downed by back injuries, a handful of lap dogs caught in the crush. The only person who was really injured in the melee was 72-year old Muffy Tomkins. Turns out her pearl necklace was on a little too tightly and she’d become lightheaded in the initial sprint. That said, her well-bouffed hair broke the fall.
I was on the steps of The Met at 3:30 and when those doors opened, people just bee lined it to the pieces they’d had their eye on all season.
My target, the Temple of Dendur, but a woman’s lawyer was already carrying it to the registers for her when I arrived on the scene. I told her about the 5 year-old I’d planned to buy the ancient Egyptian sun temple for as a new treehouse, and she told me it was a stocking stuffer for her maid’s son. Should have gotten there at 2:30.
Then by the time I arrived at Big Lots just after 5:30, all of the decorative fireplace mantels were snatched up too. Oddly the same woman and the same lawyer had just cleaned them out. So if you’re anything like me, there are still a few people left on your gift list this season. Let’s just finish them off right now. Here are some amazing pieces from the Greek & Roman wing. If they’re listed here, they’re all still available.
Theses helmets are great for kids who like to dress up, they’ll fuel hours of endless imaginative play. Adults who like to play dress up will enjoy them even more though.
Struggling with that gift for your significant other? An aloe plant’s just not gonna cut it this year, lesson learned. Three words, “Chicks dig scars” If you’re not up for getting into a gnarly skateboarding accident or a shark fight, three more words – “Chicks dig jewelry.” You’ll make someone pretty happy with these. $175,000 for everything in the case, after doorbuster discount. You could also get a reproduction in the gift shop for $17.50 but believe me, they’ll know the difference, 2,000 years adds a lot to the patina.
Maybe you have a niece or nephew who’s all set on attending art school. That’s great. Ideally you’d give them a trust fund, they’re gonna need it. But here’s something else to consider. Artists spend hours sketching still life objects, and this scultpure is the sort of thing that’ll fit nicely in a nook of their off-campus apartment. Plus the $475,000 you spend saves them the $2.25 Metrocard fare and 41 cent suggested donation they’d give the museum when they came for a visit. This thing just pays dividends for the artist to be, and maybe you’ll get a couple new pieces for the fridge.
This isn’t necessarily the best holiday gift, but if you know someone who’s just moved and you’re struggling for a housewarming gift, keep that bottle of wine for yourself. Instead, give them this ancient Lion sculpture. I’m a little on the fence about this one, ideally you’d like to present them with a pair of lions for the end of their driveway or the entrance to their studio apartment with bedroom alcove, but the fact that it will have cost you more than their home cost them makes up for its absence. Plus when they have to insure this thing for $615,000, they’ll shut up about “the missing lion.”
Sadly this is something a lot of families will hear this time of year – “It’s probably Grandma’s last Christmas.” First thought for her is a sweater, because even when it’s 92 out, nana’s still bundled. Too obvious, there’s no surprise in it for her. Instead look forward and send her out in style with a sarcophagus. Your grandparent will be the only one in the cemetery entombed forever in this elaborately decorated, one-ton dwelling. She’s sure to be the envy of all the other dead people. Of course “forever” is a relative term here. The person originally buried in this probably thought forever was longer than 1,600 years. Still there’s some consolation that Gran will be on display 2,000 years from now herself.
I mentioned the gift shop earlier, and yes, you can get a variety of gifts there – reproduction scarves, reproduction prints, reproduction Colonial-era playing cars. Show me the kid who doesn’t want to play hand after hand of War with those! If you choose to go this route, spring for The Met’s enhanced wrapping service. You have your choice of artists, a Lichtenstein, Warhol, Pollack or Ver meer perhaps, the inventory changes hourly this time of year. The museum then removes the artwork from their frames and wraps your purchase directly in the canvas, binding it with their signature ribbon of course.
Enhanced wrapping adds between $3 and $17 million to that $30 reproduction scarf, but it shows your loved ones you care and didn’t just phone it in this year.
Happy holidays and our best for the New Year! We’ll see you in January 2011.
Fancy Meeting You Here
Carl Arnheiter & Dave Hill