Andrew Learmonth and Bruce Morton team up for The Soft Play Area
The infant-friendly comedy show will run for as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival
Comedian Chris Addison once recalled the gig-ruining actions of a couple who brought their restless toddler to his Fringe show. While their pleas that a babysitter bailed on them at the last minute fell on unsympathetic ears, the Glasgow International Comedy Festival is offering a solution to parents who want their stand-up fix with a nipper in tow.
The Soft Play Area is the brainchild of Andrew Learmonth, with the backing of Bruce Morton, his Greater Shawlands Republic comedy cohort. Learmonth himself is the dad of an 18-month-old and, during the test run of this show in October, she voiced her opinion in the way only a baby can.
‘She doesn’t find me funny at home, so I didn’t think she’d find me funny on stage,’ notes Learmonth. ‘But when I went on she immediately started crying. Maybe it was because she’d seen my set before.’
For the three forthcoming GICF sessions, Learmonth and Morton have secured a number of Scottish comedians who have recently become parents. But whether the stand-ups are seasoned guardians or slowly getting accustomed to walking around like sleep-deprived zombies, everyone needs to treat these gigs differently from a normal night at the comedy coalface.
‘Essentially, you do stand-up in drunk rooms,’ says Learmonth. ‘And here we are at three o’clock in the afternoon and the audience is going to be incredibly sober and with their child. There will be some trepidation because when a comic is told not to do something you automatically want to do it. So when you’re in a room full of toddlers and you know you can’t swear or talk about anything too difficult, it’s very hard not to.’
The Bungo Bar & Kitchen, Glasgow, Sun 17, 24, 31 Mar.