You can’t hurry love or interplanetary travel. Paul Ayre and Umbilical Brother David Collins take a Phil Collins-soundtracked trip to the dwarf planet this Sydney Comedy Festival
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Your show is about two Aussie astronauts who go on a mission to Pluto. Why Pluto? Paul Ayre: Well the American thing is to always go to the next easiest planet. Australia figured if we're going to do something, we were going to do it properly.
What are the standard features of a 1989 spaceship?
PA: A stellar 800 megabyte hard drive! It can store one album of Phil Collins songs as WAV files. You don’t have to rewind like a cassette tape which saves a lot of time. Very important on an 18-year mission.
Is the music of Phil Collins particularly suited to space exploration? David Collins: Although Billy Joel looks a bit like an alien, and there is nothing unfunny about Michael Bolton, in the end it had to be Phil.
How did you feel when you heard Pluto was no longer a planet? DC: I was ecstatic. Paul had started writing the show and it was looking brilliant. When Pluto lost its planet status, I knew we had a second act plot point to rival the death of Bambi's mum.
What objects would be essential on an Australian space mission? PA: I spent a lot of time looking for Space Food Sticks. They seem to have been discontinued.
DC: Sorry mate, I’m a method actor. The reason you couldn’t find any Space Food Sticks is that I’ve been living on them for two months. Now I know where the expression "shit a brick" comes from.
What do two men talk about after 18 years together in space? PA: They’ve solved Chess, Checkers and Boggle. They’re also getting really good at predicting exactly what the other person is going to say.
DC: They’re also getting really good at predicting... Oh damn.
America is planning a Mars mission. Should they skip Mars and aim for Pluto? DC: As a serious astronaut who has spent weeks rehearsing I am definitely qualified to influence NASA policy. We can either spend $102 billion to go to Pluto or spend $500 and fake the landing in a studio using a chewed tennis ball and clever camera angles. In both scenarios I am fully prepared to pee in my space suit.