Category Archives: Parenthood

Why people should go to comedy clubs on a Saturday night and not complain

Ivo Dembina at Hampstead Comedy Club last night

Ivor Dembina at his Hampstead Comedy Club last night

I seem to be having a run of things happening in Thameslink trains on my way home from comedy gigs.

Last night, I went to Ivor Dembina’s weekly Hampstead Comedy Club – now somewhat surreally in its new Camden Town High Street venue. Full room, four cracking acts, wonderful atmosphere. And with The Orchestra of Andy Zapp in attendance – I blogged about Andy three days ago.

Ivor performs (left) while Andy adds texture (right)

Ivor performed (left) & Andy added extra audio layers (right)

The set-up is that Andy sits in a corner at the front of the audience with a microphone, a harmonica and one of those small plastic sound machines which emit a few seconds of clapping, wah-wah-wah sound, comedy music etc etc if you press the appropriate button.

In effect, it is controlled heckling – little comments, sound effects and creative additions thrown in by another comic which add another layer to Ivor’s schtick rather than detract from what’s happening on stage (as some, not all, heckling can).

Very interesting. I don’t think I have seen it done like that before.

Everyone left Ivor’s club with a smile on his or her face.

Then, on my train back to Elstree & Borehamwood, I overheard two slightly drunk late-middle-aged women talking.

“As a parent,” one said, “you spend 25 years – almost a third of your adult life – looking after a child and, at the end, they leave you and you don’t even have that human being you created as a friend.”

She should go to comedy clubs, like me, and laugh at (seldom with) life.

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How a comic’s Christmas baby was born rather late in Australia’s summer sun

I woke up this morning to about six inches of snow as far as the eye could see. Things are said to be worse in the Ukraine. Well, they are. People are dying from the cold.

Things are allegedly better in Australia.

I say ‘allegedly’ because I prefer the snow to the sun – probably a consequence of being partly brought-up on a hill in Aberdeen. There was a block of flats involved.

But I digress already.

I mentioned in passing in a blog a couple of days ago British comedian Eric, who has recently become a father in Australia.

A few people thought my blog was rather sketchy – “At least you could have mentioned the baby’s name,” someone said to me.

Eric is in Adelaide at the moment, but flies to Perth tomorrow to the Fringe World Festival, where he will tell tales of his past as a submariner.

Then he flies back to the Adelaide Fringe, 24 February to 18 March.

So the new baby will be well-travelled very early.

Eric met the new baby’s mum Helen when he was performing his show at the Adelaide Fringe back in 2010.

The baby was due on 18th December last year and the plan was to fly out from Britain to Australia in October, have the baby, then have a typical Aussie Christmas morning on the beach followed by a BBQ.

But, Eric told me this week in an e-mail from Oz:

…the baby had other plans and when we woke up on Christmas morning, she was still in residence in mummy’s tummy and didn’t show any signs of joining us any time soon. So we went to the beach as planned, with Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody blasting out of everybody’s radio. It was the first time I had ever taken any notice of the line, “Are you waiting for the family to arrive?”

While we were at the beach we phoned the hospital, as there had been some water that wasn’t provided by the sea… and the midwife told us to go to the hospital.

 Although they let us out again, we had to go back first thing on Boxing Day (or Proclamation Day as they call it here).

So, at 7.00am, we packed our bags and set off.

As we got to the end of the drive we were flagged down by our elderly neighbour. I thought: Oh! How nice! She is waving us down to say Merry Christmas and wish us well for the delivery!

But, instead, she said: You’ve got to help me! I’ve got no electricity!

She was making Christmas dinner and it was going to be ruined if I couldn’t get the oven back on. So I spent the next few minutes sorting out her electricity supply.

It was something with apricots apparently…

As we set off again, the car radio was playing Johnny Mathis – When a Child is Born.

Twenty-six long hours later, Johnny’s prediction came true.

A water birth if you’re interested.

And she is the most gorgeous little baby girl. Well, according to everyone we meet anyway. Although I must admit I do agree with everyone. And I’m not biased.

We debated names for her… Well, I say we debated… Her mother told me what she was going to be called and I agreed. As I met Helen when she came to see my show, it is perhaps only right that the baby’s name should be meaningful.

So she is now called baby Erica.

Her poos are mustard colour

* * *

So tomorrow, rather worryingly, Eric, Helen and Erica are heading towards Perth where, by all accounts, British comedian Bob Slayer is proving the truth of his show’s title Bob Slayer Will Out-Drink Australia.

What happens in the coming week when there is a triple culture clash between Australia, Bob Slayer and baby Erica and family, I dread to think. Eric tells me:

I played cricket with Bob at the Comedians’ Cricket Match back in the UK last May (my blog about it is hereand we were under strict instructions to wear ‘whites’. The opposition laughed as Bob strode to the crease dressed from head to foot in black, then promptly stopped laughing as he hit their star bowler for six! That’s the thing with Bob: you never know what he is going to do, either onstage or off…

Stay tuned.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy, Parenthood