1 Mar 2022
Medway arts reviewer Zahra Barri goes to Bring Your Own Baby Comedy in Gillingham and comes back broody for more!
This month I discovered Bring Your Own Baby Comedy gigs that run at the Glassbox Theatre in Gillingham. Now I am not normally very maternal, (I find octogenarians far cuter than kids) but Bring Your Own Baby Comedy has swayed me more in the direction of getting pregnant than my own desperately broody for grandchildren mother. If only she had taken me to one of these gigs rather than systematically send me scare articles about my ever-decreasing fertility on WhatsApp, she might already be a Granny or a Nana by now. (She’s still undecided what nomenclature she prefers- I've told her she's got time; she tells me I haven’t).
At BYOB Comedy the bottles aren’t what you’d expect… less IPA more SMA
So, what exactly is BYOB Comedy?
Well, the ‘B’ stands for ‘baby’, although there are still quite a lot of bottles. It’s just the bottles are full of what looks to me like a White Russian Cocktail minus the ingredient that makes you want to call your ex at 4am. I came to witness that upon drinking them the consumer is more the sort of person to cry for their mum at 4am.
Bring Your Own Baby is a comedy show with a difference.
Firstly, there are babies everywhere, it’s like stepping into a deleted scene of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, no not Kindergarten Cop, no not Junior, what was it? Oh yeah, The Terminator. By that I mean the precision in which I watched a mum load up a Bugaboo Bee6 Stroller was as deftly done as Arnie loading a gun. Secondly, the show isn’t at night like most comedy shows are, instead it’s on at 11:30 in the morning or what my friends who are mothers call ‘lunchtime’. (That’s when you know you’re a parent- when you’re stuffing leftover chili con carne into your face, whilst microwaving Turkey Twizzlers and baked beans, well before elevenses).
And thirdly the audience aren’t your standard demographic. As a comedian myself I’ve done many a gig to an audience populated by bald men that drink too much, slobber all over their wives and throw up whilst the headliner is on. BYOB is such a refreshing change from that. Instead, the audience is full of bald babies who drink too much milk, slobber all over their mother and throw up while the headliner is on.
Now if you’re worried that because there are babies in the audience then this means the jokes are going to be tailored to be devoid of any swears or rude stuff, you are wrong! The great thing about Bring Your Own Baby Comedy is the baby that you can bring has an age limit of twelve months old. This means the comedians can say all the swears they want, (and the mum and dads too)! You might also thing that because of the time of day, i.e., before the yard arm, that one is not prohibited to drink any alcoholic beverages. Wrong again. Glassbox Theatre served so many rose wines before midday to tired, (oh so tired, yet excited to be out parents) you would have thought it was midnight not midday.
First up was the fabulous MC Alyssa Kyria, who is well known on the circuit for being ‘The Funny Mummy’ with her hilarious parenting videos. Alyssa made everyone feel most welcome and by the looks on some of the audience’s faces, almost forget that they owned babies. If you could bottle this feeling, I might have one myself. As I gazed at what looked like the cast of Mother Land, I slowly saw them transform into their past selves, the cast of Sex and The City. Alyssa warmed them up beautifully and brought on the fabulous opener, Sarah Isles.
Sarah’s set about break ups and divorce was not only so spit-out-your-rose/spit-out-your-dummy funny it was also so relatable. Isles has a wonderfully relaxed and friendly and warm stage presence; you feel like you’re talking to your best friend. (Or if you’re a baby, you feel like you’re watching CBeebies).
Next up there was a little break for the babies to get more wine and the mums to get more milk (I think you are seeing why I might not make the best mother). And the dads to stock up on IPA while feeding their baby SMA, of course. And when everyone was sitting comfortably on the ‘story time carpet’, we were graced with the delightful charms of comedian Mark Cram.
Cram had a rather ‘Cheeky Chappy’ type stage presence. He opened his set with a chucklesome story about getting dumped on the eve of a Halloween Party. I won’t spoil the joke, but it featured a pantomime horse costume. Suffice to say both the babies and the parents alike seemed equally entranced and enamoured by his horsing around on stage.
Oh, what a night! I mean, what a day!
Bu the time Alyssa tied up the show at 1pm there was a wonderful sense of contentment that filled the room, a happy buzz, akin to a serene pregnancy glow…. perhaps next time I go I might even bring my own. (Restrain yourself, Mother).
BYOB Comedy is at The Glassbox Theatre, Gillingham every month.