They say laughter is the best medicine and for good reason too. Studies have found that laughing strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects stress can have on our health.
For Mental Health Week at Collarts, we caught up with Andrea Powell—the Head of our Comedy course—to ask her how she unwinds. "Whenever I feel anxious, overwhelmed, I'm freaking out or simply flat as a tack, I know what I need—a good laugh! Laughing really is the best medicine," Andrea says, "unless you have diarrhoea of course, in which case stay close to home or a workable dunny. But if you don't have an exploding bum spending some time with a hilarious mate or watching a funny vid can really lift your mood."
"Even better, get out of your head and go see some live comedy," she suggests. "It's the best! There are so many comedy venues in Melbourne and these ones have no cover charge. That's right, you can improve your mental health, relieve anxiety and have a bonza time for FREE! Whaaaaat? So here's my top five venues for free comedy in Melbourne."
CRAB LAB | 16 Corrs Lane, Melbourne
Free Comedy every Wednesday. Comics love performing here. It's always a fun time at the Crab Lab.
SPLEEN | 4 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Free Comedy every Monday. Spleen has been running for years and has a great reputation and great well known comics from stage and TV. They really pack them in here because it's always good and it's so popular. Arrive early so you're not too far up the back.
CLUB VOLTAIRE | 1st floor, 14 Raglan Street, North Melbourne
Free Stand-up on Saturday nights. Good club with usually solid comics. There's also an open mic night on Fridays .... should you wish to step up and tell a few gags at Club Voltaire. Or just enjoy watching budding comics try their schtick.
CAZ REITOPS' DIRTY SECRET | 80 Smith Street, Collingwood
Free late night comedy every Wednesday. Caz Reitop's Dirty Secrets has been around for a while, has a good rep and some great acts.
Highlander Bar | 11a Highlander Lane, Melbourne
Free each Tuesday from 8pm upstairs in the Library Room at Highlander Bar. Features multiple short stand up shows by some of Melbourne's finest comedians followed by some fresh open mic! It's brought to you every week by the wonderful freecomedy.com.au community. Come get amongst it!