Arj Barker, Tom Gleeson, Erin Molan and the babygate drama that has gotten out of control.

If you're alive and ever look at your phone or television, then it's likely you would have heard a lot about this 'Arj Barker kicks breastfeeding mum out of comedy show' saga.

For a few moments that went down at a Melbourne Comedy Festival gig, it sure has caused a lot of fuss. And the drama doesn't seem to be slowing down, as every day there's a new development.

But let's backtrack for a second. 

On Saturday night, US comedian Arj Barker asked fourth-row audience members Trish Faranda and her seven-month-old baby Clara, to leave his The Mind Field show at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne.

Following Barker's awkward request, another 12 audience members stood up and left the venue.

Now, what exactly went down depends on who you ask — and don't worry, both the people involved have had plenty to say on the matter.

Trish has been especially vocal about the experience, telling 7News the experience was "intimidating and humiliating", and claiming that her baby was merely "babbling a bit... she wasn't making much noise at all and certainly wasn't crying", she told the Herald Sun.

Listen to the Mamamia Outloud hosts debate the Arj vs. Trish issue. Post continues after podcast.

Barker released a statement to claim that "the baby was disrupting my performance. On behalf of the other 700 people who paid to see the gig, I politely told her the baby couldn't stay. She thought I was kidding, which made the exchange a bit awkward. 


"I felt bad about the whole situation and stated this on the night more than once. I offered her a refund. Theatre staff should not have seated a baby in my audience in the first place."

Barker did his own run of TV and radio interviews... and things quickly went awry. 

One of these interviews ended particularly badly, as he appeared to patronise radio host Erin Molan during a Hughesy, Ed & Erin segment that brought the comedian and the mum together to hash out their differences.

After Trish told Barker it was "extremely disappointing how you handled it", Molan asked him what he wished to say in response, as she acted as mediator.

To this, Barker barked (pardon the pun) back, "Thank you, I know how a conversation works."



The comment left Molan speechless, and she ended the segment saying, "We've had Arj on this show twice, and he's shut me down on both occasions, so maybe sometimes the way that he speaks to people doesn't always come across that well."

Barker initially tried to justify his harsh reaction, telling her, "I've had an experience where you've talked over me, so..." 

Molan responded, "I'm a radio host, Arj. You say, 'I know how to have a conversation,' but we're trying to facilitate a chat on air that is a little bit awkward and has a bit of history," she told him.

"And like last time you came on, you were rude to me again. That's my observation."

Barker apologised, but Molan wrapped up the call saying, "I'm happy to cop it once – but that second time was actually rude."

This interview was in stark contrast to a much lighter radio chat on Fox's breakfast show, Fifi, Fev & Nick, which ended in Barker joking with Trish that he wanted "get together" to "discuss selling the movie rights" to the incident.


But during an interview with Today, Barker appeared manic as he clarified that the initial story of him kicking out a "breastfeeding mother" was inaccurate. 

"For the record, I support public breastfeeding, as it's perfectly natural... If it were the father, I would have acted the exact same way. It had to do with the baby making noise," he said.

"No idea if she was breastfeeding or not, let's stop talking about that!" he shouted on Today. 

Barker wasn't the only one who came across somewhat scattered in interviews. Both of Trish's TV appearances on A Current Affair and The Project were hard to watch, as the chats were constantly interrupted by a crying baby Clara.

In the case of The Project, panelist Sarah Harris has come under fire for requesting the baby be removed during the interview — which some have suggested it hypocritical of Harris, while others believe she has only reinforced Barker's point that the baby's presence was disruptive.

As Clara cried, Harris asked, "Maybe she can go to Dad for a quick second?"


During the A Current Affair interview, Clara grizzled throughout, Trish joking that the baby would "give yourself a bad name if you keep going".

Another layer to this story? Trish has apparently had a similar experience bringing her baby to another comedy gig.

"Hughesy heard her, she gurgled in his show too," she told the Sydney Morning Herald, referring to Dave Hughes' show. "She was having a bit of a giggle and [he] did a skit about her and his own kids and moved on with his show like a true professional."

Another attendee at Arj Barker's show shared their own version of events, calling attention to the behaviour of the rest of the audience. She wrote it was "masterclass of what not to do", with a chorus of "loud, aggressive male voices" piping up after the mother was asked to leave, indicating a "wider problem of aggression towards women".


But another attendee wrote in a letter to the editor to The Age that "the child was disrupting the show", which prompted Barker to "politely ask her to leave". 

Other members of the comedy community have shared their take on the situation, too. Tom Gleeson shared a headline about the story, which he captioned, "I am outraged. Last night, I kicked a mother out of my show and let the baby stay. No headlines for me!"


Another comedian, Adam Spencer, sided with Barker, posting on X that "surely an artist who has advertised a show as 15+ has the right to say, 'I'm really sorry but that baby in the front row distracts me?'" he wrote.

The founder of the Hard Knock Knocks comedy school in Melbourne, Morry Morgan, said that there was a double standard at play in how people perceive comedy shows compared to other performing arts. "I honestly don't think this conversation would happen if we were talking about Les Misérables or Miss Saigon," Morgan told the ABC.

"I think it would just be a given that a baby that young would never have been put as close to the stage or even in the room in the first place."

Meanwhile, Dave Hughes is putting on a special 'Mums 'N Bubs' comedy show to cater to women wanting to bring their babies to his gigs.

Arj Barker's next scheduled comedy gig will take place this Friday night in Healesville, Victoria.

Feature image: Nine/Hughesy, Ed & Erin/Getty. 

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