Mum booted from Arj Barker stand-up show over baby accuses comic of letting crowd ‘abuse’ her

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Comedian defends call to evict a mum and her baby from his show.

The fallout continues from US comedian Arj Barker’s decision to evict a new mum and her baby from his stand-up show in Melbourne at the weekend.

Trish Faranda was asked by Barker to leave his gig at the Athenaeum Theatre on Saturday night when her seven-month-old baby started making “gurgling” noises.

The comic reportedly told Ms Faranda to leave in front of the 700-strong audience because she was interrupting the rhythm of the show.

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She has since described how “humiliated” she felt after the incident, telling Seven’s Sunrise on Tuesday it was not getting kicked out that hurt her, but how she was evicted.

“I would have been mortified that we interrupted his flow and his show, and I would have never spoken about it, but I don’t feel that’s what happened,” Ms Faranda said.

“I feel like he used his position on that stage and his microphone to really intimidate me.”

Trish Faranda, who was kicked out of US comedian Arj Barker's stand-up gig in Melbourne on Saturday night because her baby was being noisy, has explained what upset her most about the "humiliating" experience.
Trish Faranda said she is most upset about how comedian Arj Barker handled her “humiliating” eviction from his gig. Credit: Sunrise

The new mum said she thought the comic was joking when he first asked her to leave, but reality hit when he asked the crowd to “jump in”.

Ms Faranda said the crowd heckled and “abused” her and her baby as they left, which Barker could allegedly hear but did nothing to stop.

“To stand there... and hear that and not be able to go ‘Actually, this isn’t right’, is what doesn’t sit well with me,” Ms Faranda said.

She said she was speaking up because she felt it was “not right” for women to feel that they did not deserve to be “treated with respect”.

“I feel like we deserve better,” she said.

“And nothing’s going to change if we all just think this is okay and that... we should sweep it under the carpet, move on with life.

“Whether you think I should have been there is fine, you can have your own opinion. ... (But) it’s sad that we can’t all agree that women should be treated with respect.”

Barker also appeared on Sunrise to explain the incident, saying he was “gentle as (he) could be” in the difficult situation.

He also rejected accusations that he kicked the mum out because she was breastfeeding her baby during the set.

“I merely asked her to leave because the baby was making noise,” Barker said.

“I couldn’t see her well enough to know if she was breastfeeding or not. ... and if she was, I wouldn’t care.

“This was an audio issue. It’s a very quiet theatre. ... You can hear a pin drop.”

Ultimately, he said, the “baby talk” coming from the infant was “cute, but it (was) distracting the audience”.

Barker also said that he heard audience members yelling, but he was “confused” whether it was directed at him or the mum.

He said he would “never encourage anyone to have a mob mentality” or abuse toward the mother.

The comic apologised to the mum for the “difficult situation” and extended an invitation to “make peace” with her — joking they should sell movie rights over the controversy.

In an ironic turn of events, in an interview with The Project to relive her “humiliating” story again, Faranda was asked to take her crying baby off camera.

Moments into the interview with host Sarah Harris, young Clara began to cry, prompting the mum to breastfeed her during the live interview. When Clara did not stop crying, Harris asked whether the baby could “go to dad for a quick second?”

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