Lucy Porter. Picture credit Steve Ullathorne
AS any parent will tell you, when you first have kids your social life and indeed any life you had beforehand can go out of the window.
Babies can mean a treadmill of nappies, feeding, winding, baby massage and singing songs endlessly. The term baby brain was surely born out of this situation.
But in a bid to bring some semblance of normality - not to mention a bit of humour - back to parents’ lives, comedian Lucy Porter came up with a comedy club designed especially for those with kids aged 12 months and under.
Screaming with Laughter is held regularly in pubs in and around South London including at the Bedford Pub in Balham.
Lucy is bringing it there on Wednesday, July 13 as part of the Balham Comedy Festival and tells me she couldn’t be happier about it.
“It’s our third year at the Balham Comedy Festival and I really enjoy it,” she enthuses. “It’s such a fantastic festival always with great acts on throughout the week and a brilliant atmosphere.
"I love the Bedford so much and I love Balham so it’s always a joy to be there.
"I’m South London born and bred too so it’s like coming home.”
The idea for the club came about when Lucy herself had kids - now aged four and five - and it has proved to be very popular.
"With babies most of the stuff you do is all about them - baby massage and singing songs like Wind The Bobbin Up millions of times," she chuckles.
“But there comes a point where you’ve had enough and want something for you and so that’s where this club comes in.
"I began doing it when mine were babies as I wanted to see my comedy friends and after speaking to other mums about the idea it just grew. It's a nice gig and we aim to lift the spirits."
The idea is simple, parents and babies of up to a year old are welcome, the doors open at about 12 and Lucy as compere introduces the comedians who each do about a 20 minute set.
The acts - all of whom are regulars on the comedy circuit - won’t make fun of any parent who needs to move around, whip out a boob or bottle, or if the baby’s just having a meltdown.
Indeed, as all the acts are seasoned club performers used to rowdy stag and hen night crowds at the weekend a bit of noise or the odd bare breast won’t phase them.
"It’s nice for everyone really and a really relaxed atmosphere with mums, dads, grandparents and friends," says Lucy.
"We open the doors at 12noon and they can have lunch and then we do the show and finish at about 2.30pm just in time for the school run. It’s a win win!"
And refreshingly Lucy says it is just like going to see a regular gig which is why it's aimed at babies not children.
"We want it to be like a proper comedy night and so we don't want to be responsible for the first word out of a baby's mouth to be a swear word," she laughs.
"It’s a wonderful, confusing and scary time when you are a parent particularly with your first child. When I’m comparing I normally talk about the horror of the early months and the birth plans that go out of the window.
"But some of the acts don’t have kids so they talk about other stuff which is also nice especially when you are stuck in a baby bubble. So it’s a little bit of baby chat and little bit of filth and a chance for us to take parents away from it."
And she admits being in a room with so many babies, she gets a bit broody although she says it took her a while for any yearnings to have a child herself to kick in.
“I never wanted any, never had a maternal feeling at all,” she chuckles. "I used to be on stage and talking about not wanting children but when I was 37 I crumbled at the last minute and I love it.
"I did find it hard when they were very little but my husband is amazing and we split the work 50 50.
"I’m much more relaxed and now I have zero stage fright which is odd. Compared to child birth being on stage is a doddle!
"It’s also nice for me doing this club as I would have loved a third child," she adds. "I’m desperately broody so it’s lovely for me to be in a room with 40 or 50 gorgeous babies.
"It gets very loud though and sometimes it freaks out the acts who don’t have kids - especially when the babies cry in unison. It’s like a Mexican wave of crying,” she giggles.
"It’s a different type of rowdy to what goes on in clubs on a Saturday night. Babies are the cutest hecklers!"
Lucy Porter's Screaming With Laughter takes place at the Balham Comedy Festival on Wednesday, July 13. Tickets cost £9. Visit www.screamingwithlaughter.com/ or www.balhamcomedyfestival.com/ for full listings.