The Project’s Sarah Harris asks crying baby to leave interview after being kicked out of Arj Barker’s gig

Kellie Balaam
The Nightly
3 Min Read
A breastfeeding mother who was booted from Arj Barker’s comedy show appeared on The Project to discuss her “humiliating” experience only to be asked to take her crying baby off camera.
A breastfeeding mother who was booted from Arj Barker’s comedy show appeared on The Project to discuss her “humiliating” experience only to be asked to take her crying baby off camera. Credit: Supplied/Network10

A breastfeeding mother who was booted from Arj Barker’s comedy show appeared on The Project to discuss her “humiliating” experience only to be asked to take her crying baby off camera.

Melbourne mother-of-three Trish Faranda and her seven-month-old baby, Clara, were kicked out of the US comedian’s show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Saturday night after “disrupting” the audience.

Barker’s actions have since divided the nation over whether the stand-up comic had the right to ask Ms Faranda to leave or if the mum should have taken her baby in the first place.

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Ms Faranda told The Project on Monday that she had “no idea” taking her infant daughter to a comedy would be a big deal.

However, moments into the chat with host Sarah Harris, young Clara began to cry, prompting Ms Faranda to breastfeed her during the live interview.

As Clara continued to cry, Harris asked: “Maybe she can go to dad for a quick second?”

After the interview was posted to social media, viewers voiced their opinions on the irony of the situation.

“Wait, so woman gets asked to leave a comedy show due to her baby crying, woman then goes on TV to complain and baby has to leave interview due to crying!” one person said on X.

“The interview just proved a point,” another said.

A third said: “There’s something really really funny about the project host asking for the baby to leave for being disruptive during the interview and then going right back to empathising with the mother about being asked to take her baby out during a comedy show for being disruptive.”

Ms Faranda also said she went into the show with plans to leave if Clara started crying.

“I thought it would be really nice to do something I hadn’t done in a while and get back to a pre-baby me,” she said.

“He could’ve off-mic said, ‘It’s really disrupting me, do you mind?’ and I would’ve happily packed up and gone.

“Then he asked for support from the crowd, basically to say I should leave and they heckled a bit when we were leaving.”

Baby Clara caused interview chaos.
Baby Clara caused interview chaos. Credit: Supplied/Network10

Barker, who was 15 minutes into his set when the drama unfolded, said in a statement that the show is strictly age 15 plus and is clearly stated on the ticket site.

On Tuesday morning, Barker delivered a rambling defence as to why he asked Ms Faranda to leave and said he didn’t know she was breastfeeding at the time.

“Absolutely, had no idea if she was breastfeeding or not, let’s stop talking about that,” he said.

“I couldn’t see well enough to know that (she was breastfeeding), and I’m glad that you’re letting me stress that point,” he said, claiming he only learnt she had been breastfeeding two days after the show.

This is something that I want to clear up. I have no animosity towards anyone. I just want to tell jokes and do a great show.”

Arj Barker responds to breastfeeding mum. Picture Today.JPG
Arj Barker on Today. Credit: NCA NewsWire

He denied the allegation that he “lost his train of thought”, instead claiming he was solely concerned with his audience’s experience of the show and ensuring they could hear “pauses and timing”.

He said some of his audience members were yelling, but he was concerned with “gently asking her to remove the baby”.

“I feel bad for how much angst and upset this has caused because people who know me, they know I’m not a bad guy,” he said.

However, Ms Faranda said she wouldn’t be talking about it if he had “politely” asked her to leave.

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