A parent walks into a bar…
Angie Belcher set up the AfterMirth Comedy Club in June 2018 so that new parents could enjoy some much needed laughs in those crazy baby days. Since then she’s taken the south west by storm, popping up in venues across Bristol, as well as Clevedon, Gloucester, Stroud, Bridport and more. She spoke to us about figuring out work after becoming a mum and the benefits of a good chuckle.
What made you start the AfterMirth Comedy Club?
Necessity really. My partner is a bass player and works in the evenings and at weekends, which happens to be when comedians work too! After having a baby we had to decide whose career was going to continue and whose was going to die. Obviously, mine was going to die because he didn’t have many day time skills.
This meant I had to come up with a way to present comedy during the day. I decided on a daytime comedy club where you could bring your baby but still experience the edginess and mature content of a normal comedy gig. As long as your baby is under 18 months, this is for you. Any older and they start to heckle!
Why do you think events like these are important for parents and carers?
Just because you’ve had a baby it shouldn’t mean that you don’t get to experience the arts anymore. I noticed when I had my baby that all the things on offer tended to happen in crappy venues accompanied by a custard cream and lukewarm tea. The venues we use are really lovely, so parents can have a bit of night out but during the day. I encourage parents to have a beer and kick back. Monday afternoons are the new Saturday night!
I’m also really interested in the therapeutic benefits of comedy. Sometimes hearing someone share their truth on a stage can help you realise you’re not alone in this world. I give free tickets to mums with post-natal depressions and dads who are struggling so that they can connect with other parents, have a bit of fun and make some time and space for themselves. I’d really like comedy to be available on the NHS after birth!
What has been the best reaction you’ve received so far?
I had a review recently from someone saying she’s had a second baby just so she could come to AfterMirth! One mum told me she felt like a “normal human being” whilst in the audience. Giving birth can be a holy hot mess of trauma but I‘d like to think my comedy club is part of that post natal joy.
Who’s your biggest art throb?
Andy Council’s work never fails to cheer me up and now that I have a toddler I’m getting to know dinosaurs pretty well, although I keep getting stegosaurus and triceratops mixed up.
I’ve never really understood why dinosaurs are such a draw for toddlers. They don’t seem to feel afraid of those big toothsome monsters but they can easily have a melt down in the supermarket over a can of baked beans.
What’s your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
As a regular train user, I always love seeing the Brunel inspired sculpture on Platform 1 at Temple Meads station. I worked with big steel makers and artists on its installation many years ago and I still love looking at it. The actual designs were created by artists with learning difficulties. Have a look next time you’re catching the train to Weston. It’s a bit of a hidden gem.
AfterMirth Comedy Club is at Bristol Old Vic on 18 March, 6 May and 17 June at 11:30. Book your tickets here.
You can also follow AfterMirth on Facebook.
💥 BAM 💥