Bringing baby is infant-ly bad idea

Brian Regan frequently is described as a comedian whose act is clean and family-friendly.

At least one person at Stambaugh Auditorium took that description too literally.

Opening act Tom Ryan was about five minutes into his set when a sound from the audience made a “What the …” expression flash across his face.

No, it wasn’t a heckler. Comedians expect that.

It was a crying baby.

Who brings a baby to a comedy concert?

The sound of 1,500 people laughing uproariously isn’t a noise that any reasonable person should expect an infant to sleep through. In turn there are moments in a comedy show where it can be so quiet, there is nothing to mask the sound of a restless tot.

Now, maybe that wasn’t the original plan. Perhaps a babysitter was all lined up for a rare night out for mom and dad, and then at the last minute the sitter caught the flu and had to cancel. The parents exhausted every possible option, but a replacement couldn’t be found.

Hey, it sucks to be you, but it doesn’t mean you have the right to make it suck for everyone around you. And thanks to the pristine acoustics of Stambaugh Auditorium, that crying child (in the mezzanine/balcony?) could be heard clearly throughout the hall.

Parenting isn’t a right; it’s a responsibility.

When our first child was born, it certainly changed our social lives, although the impact on my wife was much greater than on me since it is my job to go to movies and concerts and plays. And, unlike many young parents, we had grandmas available who were happy to provide free babysitting.

But on those times we didn’t have a sitter, we stayed home, regardless of what we’d spent on tickets. If the baby went with us to the movies, it was at the drive-in (I still remember taking my older daughter with us to see “Unforgiven” at the drive-in when she was about two months old. I was changing her diaper in the back seat, diaper off and legs up in the air, when I told her, “This better be the only time you’re like this at the drive-in”).

Ryan didn’t acknowledge the screaming kid. He plowed ahead until the parent took the baby out of the theater (or was escorted out). Regan didn’t react either when crying baby returned for an encore.

They’re pros and, apparently, nice guys.

Part of me wished that it was someone like Dave Attell or Jim Norton on stage Sunday night. Whatever those parents saved in babysitter fees, they would pay out a thousand fold to a psychiatrist (”Doctor, whenever I close my eyes, I see an ugly bald man screaming at me …”)

This is the idea I came up with in my review of the show. It won’t work in all cases, but it certainly could have applied Sunday: if the child isn’t old enough to spell the name of the headliner, they shouldn’t be allowed in the theater. A 7- or 8-year-old might have found a lot to laugh at in Brian Regan’s set, and with only five letters in each name, they probably could spell their way into the theater.

The rule also would mean that kids would have to be in high school – at least – before they could spell their way into a Zach Galifianakis show. That sounds about right.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a village idiot to bring a baby to a comedy show.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at