I became a godfather recently. Not the cool kind with guns and Italian food. The normal kind with responsibility and the need to buy presents.
It was inevitable that my friends would have me babysit my goddaughter and her older brother. Luckily, my time as a professional comedian person has made me more than prepared. Here are some sweet examples of what I learned from being a stand-up that helped me become an awesome babysitter.
1. If you can feed an audience your half-baked ideas, you can feed a child a hard-boiled egg. Just pull lots of dumb faces and look enthusiastic. Then when they have their mouths open, shove that slop into their faces. They might not like it but your job is done and you still get paid the same.
2. If a child does a poo on the floor, it’s cool. In comedy you sometimes have to deal with the massive pile of metaphorical shit that the comedian left before you. Don’t let the stink get to you. Just acknowledge the shit, move past the shit and leave it for the person running the place to deal with it.
3. Sometimes a kid just doesn't like you. Sometimes an audience just doesn't like you. In both cases, it's not your fault. Just finish the job and drink heavily afterwards. In fact, drink heavily before hand as well. It will make the whole experience more bearable.
4. The child will get bored of you if you keep doing the same things with them. What I learned from comedy is that you need to constantly come up with fresh ideas and try them out before hand. Hang out friends before you babysit and watch 'Dora The Explorer' with them. Give them a whizzy-dizzy. Make fart sounds on their tummies. If this goes well with your mates, it should work well with the kids.
5. Try not to get jealous of other babysitters. Just because they got opportunities you didn’t get doesn’t mean that Tom Ballard is funnier than you.
6. When a child interrupts you while you’re talking, adopt the same approach as you would with a drunken heckler. Tell them to shut the f**k up and that you’ve banged their mum. This may seem harsh in writing but it’s hilarious and everyone will be on your side. If they persist, have them thrown out of the premises and get them blacklisted. Sure, the parents will be upset for a while but their life will be better without that kid anyway.
And there you have it: a dream babysitter. Thanks stand-up comedy!
Simon Taylor performs The Garden Of Unearthly Delights at Adelaide Fringe until 13 March.