Laurence Clark returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after a two-year hiatus to the Assembly George Square Box. His new hour is called ‘An Irresponsible Father’s Guide To Parenting’ and is the follow up to 2016’s ‘Independence’.
We caught up with Laurence to find out more.
You are bringing An Irresponsible Father’s Guide To Parenting to Assembly, what can you tell us about it?
I’d never really thought about becoming a father. Growing up, I never saw guys with cerebral palsy with kids; which limited my own expectations and made me think I’d never be a dad. Besides, my younger self was way too selfish to look after a child. The most I’d ever managed was a cactus… and that died of dehydration.
I was far too in love with not being woken up in the morning by a small child jumping on my knackers. But when I first meet my future wife Adele, she says I’d better be prepared for the fact she wants babies… which is a pretty strong opening line. What follows is the hilarious, honest, warm story of two people with cerebral palsy traversing the ups and downs of parenthood.
What inspired you to write the An Irresponsible Father’s Guide To Parenting?
When I read through all of the comments about me and my family on Youtube, I got a glimpse of the kinds of misconceptions the average person in the street has of me as a disabled parent. And I really wanted to use my skills as a comedy writer and stand-up comedian to set the record straight!
So, it is all based on real events?
Most definitely yes! All of the funny stories in this show are based on things that really happened to me and my family. I suspect I’ll get my poorest reviews from my wife and children because, as with any other piece of writing, I have taken some artistic license. My wife will probably correct me on the times I take credit for things she did, whilst I fully expect my youngest son to correct me in the middle of a show if I get something wrong!
How does it feel to be performing at Assembly?
This will be the 3rd time in a row that I’ve performed at Assembly. There is a lack of venues in the fringe that are wheelchair accessible for performers. Often venues appear at first glance to be accessible, but when you read the small print they have restrictions on how many wheelchair users can be accommodated. Since I count as one myself, it’d mean I’d have to turn away my peers. I’m in a venue called the Box, which is literally a box! This means though it’d be easy to escape in a fire so we’re allowed more wheelchair users.
What’s the one thing about An Irresponsible Father’s Guide To Parenting that makes it different from all the rest?
I’ve included my kids in the show as they really wanted to be part of it, especially as it’s partly about them. Recently a documentary about me and my family was put onto Youtube, which meant people all over the world could effectively look into our family home and type their considered, informed comments about us underneath.
I got told that having kids in my position is just irresponsible by someone calling themselves “pantyflash”! Someone else asked how could I even make the baby when I’m in a wheelchair and can’t hold anything properly? Someone called “Little Bunny Bunny” even said that I shouldn’t have been born or allowed to reproduce! Has there ever been a greater disparity between such a nasty opinion and such a cutesy name?
So for the show I filmed my kids reading these comments and saying what they thought of them.
Who will An Irresponsible Father’s Guide To Parenting appeal to the most?
I think this show has a broad appeal. I certainly think that lots of disabled people will identify with it. I’m also hoping that it will appeal to parents, even if they only come to listen to what not to do as a parent! I’ve also set myself the challenge of giving this show a 12 certificate, so I really have to watch my language. But I did this hoping that, with a 5.40pm timeslot, I’ll get some families too. At the end of the day though, if you like well-written, hilarious, thought-provoking comedy then this is for you!
An Irresponsible Father’s Guide To Parenting is at Assembly 1st – 26th August (not 14th) Tickets On Sale Here.