Sam Avery, award-winning writer of The Learner Parent blog, will be in stand-up mode as he brings alive the sheer comedy of being a dad. He will be at Brighton’s Komedia on January 16 in a stage show which has grown naturally out of his blog.
Sam started The Learner Parent after his twins were born, and it quickly became a viral sensation, translated into 15 languages and eventually becoming a best-selling book. His new stand-up show is named after the blog and is a continuation of the book. Common to them all is Sam’s unique brand of humour which captures the highs and lows of being a new father to twin boys.
“I have done stand-up for 15 years, and when my kids were born, twins, three and a half years ago, I would write down anything vaguely amusing that happened, thinking it could be turned into a joke. I sat in the hospital and there were just lots and lots of new experiences, and I think laughing is like a coping mechanism that you have. We use humour to break down the fear and the uncomfortableness of things.
“So I started writing it all down and a mate said that I should put it in a blog. I didn’t really know what a blog was at that point and didn’t really like the sound of it, but I did it, and then I was thinking that if it was funny online, it would be funny on stage.
“For the first few weeks, they didn’t really do anything, just slept and got fed and then slept again all the time, but even then, every day something different would happen and I started writing the blog. We were in a situation where every day something could go wrong, and that is what makes it funny. And the blog just took off. People started sharing it on Facebook and people from around the world started following it. It was really quite surreal. It all started happening within six months. I suddenly had tens of thousands of followers. It was just so weird!
“But no one goes to it for advice. That isn’t what it is about. It is just about the funny stuff that can happen, and in a way that is advice of a kind. People come up to me and thank me for getting them through the first year, and that’s really nice. It is not about giving tips and advice. It is about being honest about my shortcomings, and that is what people respond to. There are so many moments where you feel you are not doing it right or that you are being judged. And that is fine. The blog is just saying that you are not alone.
“And then in early 2018 I thought I would like to do a tour. I had written a blog and stand-up is what I do. I just messaged a couple of promoters and the one I am working with asked how many shows I was thinking of. I said ‘Maybe ten shows in 50 seaters.’ He laughed and said we should be looking at 50 shows in venues between 200 and 300 seats. It has gone really, really well.” Inevitably, it is something that can run and run as the boys get older: “But I don’t want to become an embarrassment to them when they get older. But then it is not about ridiculing them. Most of the time the butt of the joke is me and my lack of success! I certainly don’t ridicule my kids. I will just see how it pans out, but there are several phases coming up that will be ripe for comedy!”