The Canadian Comedy Awards were held last night, where Daily Show correspondent and Babble Voices blogger Samantha Bee was named Comedy Person of the Year.
Bee has been on a roll lately, after publishing a memoir, “I Know I Am But What Are You?” last year. Her most recent post for Babble Voices, Irony, Meet Toddler, details her feelings about an experience I can totally relate to: using your child as a prop for comedy. Bee describes how her husband — fellow Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones — used their daughter in a very funny Daily Show sketch “in which he demonstrated his new abilities as a father.” In the sketch, Jones “takes her to a peep show, drags her behind his bike while riding at top speed -—all you see is the empty tricycle reeling around the corner after him, takes her to a bar and spills beer all over her, and in the piece de la resistance, puts her in a Baby Bjorn and dives into a swimming pool.”
We thought it was hysterically funny, and dark, and all of those good things. Soon after the piece aired we realized that putting our children in inappropriate (although staged) situations was, well, inappropriate and that we should never use our children in anything…(later re-calibrating that position, and using the age of ten months as our hard cut off.)
I understand. I’ve used my daughter in a few comedy videos, and though she’s always seemed to enjoy being involved, I can remember an incident while shooting Take You Home with Jen Kwok that made me question whether or not kids and comedy make a great combo. While we were filming a scene where my daughter was bouncing on the bed, she fell, and in the final cut of the video, you can see me comforting her in a way that wasn’t staged at all. Poor thing. But, my daughter still loves telling jokes more than anything, so the shoot clearly didn’t ruin her sense of humor. Bee says, despite everything she has put her children through for the sake of a laugh, “In the end, what I think might be the most damaging image of all will be seeing pictures of their mother in thigh high silver boots, bikini bottoms and two large hairy patches of prop pubic hair doing sketch comedy in late 90²s. Seriously though, it was really funny at the time.”
Photo and source: CBC