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Comedian Arj Barker Defends Decision To Ask Breastfeeding Mother To Leave Show 

American comedian Arj Barker defends his decision after requesting a mother to leave his show after her baby began making noises during his performance. 

The incident, which took place at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne on Saturday night as part of the city’s international comedy festival, had sparked controversy.

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According to Barker, who addressed the incident on various media platforms, he approached the woman, Trish Faranda, and asked her to leave as the baby’s crying was “ruining his train of thought” during the show. 

“On behalf of the other 700 people there who had paid to see the gig, I politely told her the baby couldn’t stay,” Barker said.

Despite feeling regretful about the situation, Barker offered Faranda a refund as she exited the show.

Speaking to Fifi, Fev & Nick today, Barker said it was an unfortunate situation. 

“This was a quiet theatre; you could hear a pin drop, and it had a very theatrical setting. I’m trying to perform my show,” he said.

He said the baby was “basically talking” and was “ruining his train of thought”.

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“When you really try to get your points across and build up that tension, it only takes one little thing, and suddenly your jokes only get 20, 30 per cent of the laughs it should’ve got,” he added.

Barker said he wanted to make clear that he had nothing against breastfeeding. 

“I could see there was likely a woman holding a baby, that’s all I could see, the breastfeeding was never part of it.”

Faranda, the mother of the seven-month-old baby, later joined the recording and apologised for the disruption.

However, she was “extremely disappointing” with the way Barker handled it.

“You offered me a refund of $25, but I’d rather you’d let me leave with my dignity.”

The incident has sparked broader questions about the etiquette of bringing babies to comedy shows, particularly considering the high-stress environment for performers like stand-up comedians. 

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