Have you heard of BYOB Comedy? No, it’s not bring your own booze but Bring your own Baby, an excellent idea that allows parents to feel like adults again without having to find a babysitter (although I could definitely help you with that!).
I found out about these comedy events through one of my families and they were raving about it! But first, I spoke to the creator of BYOB Comedy, Alyssa, to understand more about the inspiration behind it and how it works.
Where did the inspiration for BYOB come from?
When my daughter Lola was born, I had quite a tough time and suffered with post-natal depression. Carly (Smallman, co-founder) really helped me through it. I felt a bit like I had lost myself, and I was going to so many baby groups, talking about babies…my life was suddenly all about babies!
Carly and I took my experience and decided to use it to create an event for parents which was for them, and not just for baby. We set it up so that the babies had soft flooring, buggy parking, baby changing – everything they needed, but where the comedy was for the grown-ups. I so desperately needed to feel like myself again after having my daughter, and we thought that other parents might feel the same. So, Bring Your Own Baby Comedy was ‘born’!
Did you have experience of the comedy circuit beforehand?
Carly and I have both been on the comedy circuit for over eight years. We have performed at and produced shows for venues such as the Comedy Store, Komedia, The Hippodrome and Madame JoJos. We met at a gig, back in the day! Carly is still queen of the circuit and performs for amazing comedy clubs across the country. I perform less in the evening now, since becoming a mum, which is why I love performing at our shows. I have also started performing as ‘The Funny Mummy’ – performing parenting parodies and jokes, which I also perform online via Facebook and Instagram. (thefunnymummy / thefunnymummyuk).
What is the aim of the shows?
Our shows are a party during the daytime – and you can bring your baby! They are a judgement free zone, where you can feel comfortable to feed, change, look after your baby however you need to, while enjoying the best comedy in the UK.
How do the shows work with babies in tow?
Our shows are about 1 hour 30 minutes (including an interval). We have buggy parking, baby changing, soft flooring and toys. Buggies are not allowed in the performance space itself, so please bring a sling or bassinet for your baby if you would like to.
I love the sound of this. A mum seeing a gap in the market and helping other mums and carers too. This is what my client family had to say about their experience at BYOB when it first started in this area.
“I loved BYOB Comedy – it came to Tonbridge at the right time when my son was three months old and I had lots of new mum friends and we needed stuff to do!
Although it started mid-morning, I put on some make-up for the first time since having my son and felt like I was ‘out out’! If I hadn’t been breastfeeding I would have taken advantage of the bubbles on offer.
The comedians were excellent and it was the first time I had belly laughed for ages. My son slept in his sling for most of it which was perfect!
The pre-show info was really good with lots of detail on buggy parking, changing etc which, as a new mum, put my mind at rest. These logistical bits were really important, maybe even more important than the content of the show, at this stage of motherhood.
I would definitely recommend to other new mums as going to a comedy show is the kind of thing that you think you won’t be able to do as a new mum but taking your baby solves everything.’
Sounds great doesn’t it? The next BYOB is in Tunbridge Wells at the Mercure Hotel on 12 December https://byobcomedy.com/tunbridge-wells/ . It starts at noon but doors open at 11.15am. This would be a lovely thing to do with other mums or a group of nannies as a Christmas ‘do’. Childcare may not be a barrel of laughs but on this occasion, maybe it is!