A Melbourne mum spoke about being kicked out of Arj Barker's show. He's now responded.

Amidst mounting criticism, comedian Arj Barker has addressed the controversy surrounding his choice to remove a mother and her seven-month-old baby from his show, claiming the child was "interrupting his train of thought".

The American stand-up comedian allegedly told Trish Faranda and her seven-month-old baby to leave his show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Sunday night.

Watch: Breastfeeding around the world. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Trish, a mother of three, attended the show with her sister and a friend and felt humiliated by Barker's actions, describing it as heckling.

"She did a little bit of babbling and he just stopped and said, 'Is there a baby here?' and he did a thing about babies," she told 7NEWS on Monday night.

 "Then he said, 'I speak fluent baby and it said take me outside'."

According to Trish, the crowd was laughing, so she was unsure whether Barker was serious.

"After that, I was a little bit anxious about her making any sound," she said.


"She had a little whinge and I popped her on the breast to feed her and she was quiet."

Barker then told Trish, sitting in the fourth row, to leave because her baby was disrupting him, and it wasn't fair to the audience.

 "Everyone was still laughing. He’s a comedian, I didn’t know if he was being serious," she said.

The mother asked Barker if he wanted her to go, and he confirmed that he did, "and then he turned to the crowd and was trying to get their support to kick us out."

She described the situation as "intimidating and humiliating".

"I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s night, it was never my intention to go and disrupt people or create a scene," she said.

The move sparked major backlash for Barker, who has now been forced to respond. 

Speaking on Sunrise, the performer cleared the air, saying his decision "had nothing to do with the mum or the gender of the parent."


"If it was a father, I would have said the exact same thing," he told Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington.

"I'm really trying to create a nice environment to perform my show. It's like if you're at the movies and someone's phone rings or a kid screams and you're trying to watch a movie, it takes you out of it."

Barr then asked Barker to respond to allegations suggesting that he allowed hecklers to verbally attack Trish as she exited, prompting several other audience members to leave alongside her.

The comedian said that in hindsight, he could have handled it differently, however, he wasn't sure if the audience was hurling abuse at him or Trish.

"There was a few people yelling out at the time and it was unclear to me if they were yelling at me or her," he said.

He then apologised for making her feel unwelcome at his show.


"I offered her a refund which, you know, is maybe not a big deal, but it was sincere and if I could talk to her today I'd say, 'I hope you're doing okay'. I'm sorry, that was a difficult situation and would like to make peace.

"And also to the beautiful baby, who I have nothing against, I want to offer that little child a ticket to my show dated 2039."

Along with doing the rounds on morning shows today, Barker also issued a statement on his Instagram on Monday night.


"In my experience of doing comedy for nearly 35 years, an audience's focus is a delicate thing. If a notice or movement distracts people mid-joke, the payoff can be greatly diminished," the statement read.

He explained that he told the mother several times during the show that she could not stay with her baby, and that he was forced to make the tough call on behalf of the other 700 audience members who paid to see the performance.

"I'm genuinely grateful for EVERYONE who comes along to my show and will always try to do my best on and offstage. This was a complicated situation, and I did what I thought was right, but I do feel bad for any upset it has caused the parties involved, or my fans, or babies."

While his post attracted plenty of furious commenters, the tides seem to have turned since yesterday, with many now saying live shows are no place for young children.

"The mother is in the wrong. End of. Entitlement is such an interesting concept," wrote one user.

"As a mum of two, I 100 per cent support Arj's decision. I leave my children with a babysitter to enjoy comedy and do not want to hear them when I'm trying to fully focus on what the comedian is trying to deliver. The venue should have really managed this better," said another.

Feature Image: Getty/Network Ten.