The Humour in Parenting: Comedian POV

Patterson, Steve.headshot

Written by: Where Parents Talk Staff

Published: Jul 2, 2024

Steve Patterson, a stand-up comedian known for headlining venues across North America and hosting CBC Radio’s “The Debaters,” recently turned his comedic lens on a topic close to home: parenting.

During an interview with Lianne Castelino of Where Parents Talk, Patterson, the father of two young girls, discussed his experiences, weaving in both the personal and professional.

Click for video transcription

This is 1059 the region where parents talk and explore practical, proactive and evidence based solutions. This is where parents talk with Lianne Castelino. Hello,
everyone. Welcome to where parents talk on 1059 the region. I’m your host Lianne Castelino. Today’s show features a bit of a change of pace. Instead of a hot topic in parenting. We got something a little different lined up for you what it’s like to weave personal with professional and being a parent. That’s precisely what our guest today is taking on. He is an award winning stand up comedian, who spent more than two decades headlining venues across North America and around the world. Steve Patterson is also the host of the debaters on CBC Radio, and author and a father of two young girls. His second book and latest comedy album focuses on parenting. Steve joins us today from Toronto. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me. Lianne.
Certainly being a parent can provide endless content. For those of us who aren’t comedians by profession. What made you decide to make that the focus of your latest comedy album, which is called pattern dad, Volume One?
Well, a lot of my comedy before this has been, ironically, was more about my dad and still family stuff, but it was me, you know, on my own and stuff about my older Irish dad. And then I realized now I am the older dad. So before my kids start making jokes about me, I better make jokes about them myself, and was there you know, kids are an endless source of material and they’ll be there already pretty much funnier than me in a lot of respects. So I thought I better get one one more kick the can out before they put their own albums out as retorts, you
know, is that’s going to happen sooner rather than later, right? No doubt?
I think so they can work technology better than me. They’ll just record an album while playing in the room I wouldn’t even know about
so significance of the name patter dad, obviously Patterson’s your last name, but is there any other hidden meaning there?
No, I wish I could say it was deeper than that. But I’m like, I’m not. A lot of my material has been about being a son. This is about being a dad. So it just seemed like a very quick transition from Patterson to powder dead, but it’ll be better dead for you know, a long time now. So it’s, I’m just trying to get trying to get ahead of it, you know,
now you became a father later in life, I wonder what elements of your journey to becoming a dad have provided the most fodder for you in your stand up routine?
Well, I think it’s just all encompassing, you know, anyone that has kids knows when your kids are young, that’s it, you’ve, you’re learning on the on the go, you’re learning on the job, and you’re spending as much time as you possibly can with them, I, you know, I have to travel quite a bit. But when I’m home, now, I’m not going out and about town and hanging out with my girls. And, you know, finding entertainment and in that. So I’ve been where I used to make jokes about what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in these different places I go, I prefer to kind of find the comedy at home now. And I think that a lot of people do relate to that, obviously, being a parent is, it’s like the most adorable kind of house arrest, isn’t it? That’s
a very interesting way of looking at it for sure. So How different is it then you say, you know, talking about being with your dad in that relationship, and that comprised a lot of your material. Going from that to now being the dad and the parent and talking about your family through that lens?
Yeah, there was it was a two fold kind of transition for me because I went from lots of lots of material about being the youngest of five Irish boys, to now being the dad of two girls. I mean, it’s it was a two fold thing as far as, not only am I suddenly a dad, I’m a dad to girls, and we didn’t have girls in the house growing up. We were I was the youngest of five boys. So it’s a completely different dynamic now. And yet, you know, there are some things that are that are the same between girls and boys. But there’s some things that are just inherently distinctly different. And I’m enjoying learning about it. Like go doesn’t matter what it says in any book, every adult man has to learn to be a dad to a young girl. There’s just differences when you grew up with all boys. So take
us through that journey, Steve, in terms of what kind of preparation or you know what kind of mentors let’s say did you have to help support you to raising your first daughter and now to
You know, I, my dad, my dad remarried when I was about nine, which is my oldest daughter’s age now and, and my stepmom had all daughters. So I inherited a whole family of sisters when I was about Scarlett’s age now, so I’ve gotten a little bit of insight into that they’re very supportive, you know, kind family and I just saw the way that that whole thing kind of softened my dad from being around maniac boys all the time, and not that all boys are maniacs, but I can say that my, my family was was not the main not not the mainstream. So, you know, he definitely softened around the edges when he not only remarried, but then, you know, inherited stepdaughters to go along with it. So that that helped me along.
So you also also have the benefit of being part of a blended family as well for further content.
I’m gonna try to this one’s all I can handle right now. No blending.
Thanks. Let’s talk about your journey to becoming a dad. Now you and your wife had a little bit of difficulty conceiving? It’s obviously not an easy topic, generally. So how do you go about turning something like that into something entertaining?
Yeah, you know, I give my wife Nancy credit for even including that in the book, because it wasn’t something I was going to talk about. It’s, it’s pretty difficult to find any, any humor in that at all. But once I started talking to some people about it, I realized that a lot of my friends went through it as well. It’s just not something people generally talk about. And I thought, you know, if I could talk about this, honestly, and maybe find a couple of laughs in it, I should include it because more people than you think have gone through that. And that I have to say is the number one feedback I get about the book was people thanking me for talking about that, and including it and realizing there is, you know, you might might as well try to find the light side and something that does not like to go through it. But, you know, I, it’s something people do go through, and they kind of go through it. And don’t tell anyone because it’s whatever it is. But there, there’s certainly a couple of lighter moments in it. And, you know, that’s where that’s where I try to support other families that are going through it, because it’s so much more common than you think.
This is where parents talk. I’m Lianne Castelino, with award winning comedian, Steve Patterson, whose latest comedy album focuses on parenting. Speaking of that topic, and some of the lighter moments that you found in it. Could you share some of those with us?
Yeah, well, yeah, there’s a whole section in the, in the book, I don’t know if I get too much stand up out of it and the album, but we, you know, we had that we were going to a fertility clinic. And it ended up that we would get an automated call, like from I think, I think I dubbed the voice Robo pin, which is not the technical name of it, but they would tell us when it was time for, you know, maximize the efficiency of conception or something, some term like that real romantic. And one of those calls came in when my new brother in law was visiting town unexpectedly. So I we had to tell him, yeah, Steve can’t go see you just yet. Because we’ve got to try to conceive a child right now. And then I had to go meet my new brother in law, him having to just know that I’ve just tried to conceive a child with my, my wife slash his sister. So I don’t know that I’ll ever be in a more awkward situation. And he’ll probably never be, but at least I talked about it. I’m sure he doesn’t want to bring it up. But I found a way to talk about that in the book. And, you know, that kind of led to once we kind of let ourselves relax, and we went to the Grey Cup, and I had to perform some shows in the Grey Cup. And that ends up being where our first child was conceived. Not in the party. But you know, that that weekend, so. So it’s, it’s funny, because people say, you know, you just put too much pressure on yourself. And it really does have an have an effect. But yeah, Brent Brent, but wrote a whole section of the book because I partied party for a weekend with Brent, but then suddenly, I was able to have a baby. So I’m not saying brand, but the baby whisperer, but I’m not saying
thanks for the clarification, by the way about the break up. Yeah. Yeah.
I don’t want him to I don’t want people to start calling him like, can you help us?
So on that note, Steve, do you run any of your potential content buyer, wife, buyer, young girls, before you actually use it?
That’s a good question. And I may have to start with my youngest daughter. Got her because she is she really has a lot of questions about everything. And yeah, I feel like I’m gonna have to sign something before I have conversations with her in the future. She’s really she really wants to make sure she wants to know what we’re talking about what we’re talking about, but my wife trusts me, she knows that this is what I do. And, you know, she knows that I will be respectful. I think about anything that I that I share. And my daughter Scarlett is she’s well on her way to, to writing your own comedy. Anyway, she’s opened up a couple shows for me just saying it’s five minutes till Showtime. And she, I have not asked her to, but she’s written some material into those show openings for people. So she can’t wait to share things with people. And yeah, I think they’re okay with it. It’s only Nora that it’ll be like, Dad, you’re embarrassing me and, you know, maybe make me sign some sort of cease and desist order. She’s forced, I feel like I have a couple years left, but
maybe a couple of years, Steve,
maybe? Yeah, no, she’s quite smart.
Steve, are you ever concerned that parenting content may not fully resonate with your entire audience at any given time?
Yeah, that’s a good question. And you do always, always hear that I think, you know, comics, when you’re younger comics, you’re like, Well, I don’t want to talk about what old people talk about what older people talk about. But I think it’s just the stage that where you are in life, and my theory, I’m talking about family things, you know, everyone has a has family connections. And even if it’s, you know, even if you don’t have a real close relationship with your parents, or you’re not a young child, and still living at home, you still have memories, at least some of family life. So, you know, I think everyone comes from a family in one form or another, and it’s going to be a way to, to unite through comedy. And it’s weird, because reading all the books about going have a, you know, when we’re trying to get pregnant, and then we were pregnant. A lot of those books are very, you know, medical, medicinal kind of advice and textbook things that’s not real life. So I think it’s good to have some real life things out there. And one of the other parts of the book that people seem to talk about it a lot is, is when my wife had to, you know, I don’t know another way to say this. So suck the snot out of our baby’s nose. I didn’t know that was a thing that humans did. And walked in on my wife doing that to our, to our daughter, to Nora, actually, while I was trying to sleep with Scarlett, so it’s, that’s something that all parents know about, you know, you don’t think you’ll ever talk about it. So it’s, it’s funny if you start talking, yeah.
Well, it’s funny because you’re bringing back memories. And yes, your description is exactly that. There’s no other way of describing.
That’s right. I’m trying to be more literary here. But there’s really not some, sometimes you just got to suck the snot out through a tube, you know? Well
in the contraption, right. That’s a whole that’s a whole piece for you to explore in your, in your routine. Steve, the actual contraption that you use to, to do the deed?
Yeah, you know, I’m still traumatic. It’s still it’s, it’s still like I walked in on a unicorn being hunted down or something I’ve got, I gotta get it out of my brain. And I guess
now you talked about your book, which came out in 2021. And it’s called dad up longtime comedian. First time Father, how much did the book if at all help you with the comedy routine pattern dad volume one?
Well, it really made me understand that I could do a whole set or all show based on on being a dad and you know, also the you don’t hear too many things about the advantage of living home through a pandemic for a couple of years. But that gave me the time to write a book to you know, really be there day in and day out and see what was going on. And, and there was just so much material in the book that I could draw from for stand up. And I really could have just read read the, one of the tracks on the album is literally just me reading the foreword to the book. So, you know, it does become a very, I actually did an audiobook version. And it was the easiest audio book I’ve ever had to read. Because it’s just experiences you know, I didn’t really try to you know, not make it any more literary than it is. It’s, it’s family life. So, everyone, I think everyone can relate to that. And yeah, I really don’t back down from it. You know, my, my kids kind of tried to outsmart me all the time. They succeed a lot, and I’m fine with that. And have noticed, you know, now that I’ve gone through being young boy, I’ve noticed how different the young boys are the young girls and it’s, I’m not saying any better or worse, but man, it’s pretty easy to spot the difference right away. Huh, that’s
that’s a separate book in a separate album. I can feel it probably is
but I don’t know if the world is ready for boys will be boys do that kind of stuff. There’s lots of lots of common traits.
More ahead with our guest award winning comedian, author and father of two Steve Patterson. When we’re parents talk returns. Stay with us.
Want to learn more about the show? email info at where parents Stick around Lianne Castelino. And where parents talk we’ll be right back on 1059 the region. Welcome back to where parents talk. Listen, live at 1059 the Here’s Lianne Castelino.
Welcome back. I’m Lianne Castelino. Here with you on 1059. The region, parenting can often be no laughing matter. But our guest today begs to differ. stand up comedian Steve Patterson has made parenting the focus of his latest comedy album, as a dad of two girls, aged nine and four. Steve, what would you say has surprised you the most about being a father?
The hours, I think it’s pretty relentless. You know, I didn’t realize it would be a day job and a night job and an afternoon job. And I shouldn’t say that, of course I realized, and I travel a lot. So it’s really on on my wife more so than I am. But you know, I do really feel for my wife when there’s times when my girls just don’t want me to spend more time with her. So I’ll be trying to put my daughter to bed and she’ll be like, No, I want mommy like but I’m here. I’m here right now ready? He’s like, No, I want I want mommy and she’s got to, you know, there’s nothing I can do about that. I’m trying all that I put in all the time that I can but you know, sometimes daddy’s just not. Not good enough. So that’s, that’s been a tough part about it and did really it’s just a relentless job. But there’s lots of great moments in it. And you kind of find the joy within those moments rather than kind of looking outside.
So how do you go about managing that? You talk about traveling a lot being away from home for chunks of time? Is there such a thing as dad guilt in your world?
100% I felt it. I mean, especially because the world was still going when when Scarlett was born. So I you know, she was a month old. And I had to go on the road for a month. And our, my mother in law came to be with with Nancy and I felt every minute that I shouldn’t be on the road. But unfortunately, we’ve not we’ve yet to master building a comedy club in the house, if I could, I would I would just walk it back through the show, then walk through a door and be home already. So it still is very tough to be away. And they’re there in their in their young years where they’re only gonna go through things one time, and I don’t want to be away for that. So I’m making a conscious effort to, you know, if I’m going away, it’s going to be maximized efficiency. And I’ve turned down a lot of things that are going to keep me on the road too long. It’s still I don’t want to be away too long. So it’s definitely changed things, I think for the better.
Now on managing guilt, are you the type to overcompensate? Or do you have rituals that you lean on in order to sort of make up for that loss time?
Well, particularly when you have let’s just hypothetically, say a month long comedy tour right before Christmas, you tend to come back with a sack full of stuff bigger than Santas. And that’s certainly the case for me this year. I was just on the road for a couple of weeks and definitely picked up something for the girls everywhere that I went. And you know, my wife’s only I won’t say request it’s a demand now is to stop bringing home stuffed animals because they have certainly overtaken the house. But I always try to find a little something wherever I am to come back and the girls know I am so there. I mean before I’ve stepped in the door, they want to know what I’ve what I’ve gotten for them. So they’ve got that to look forward to I’d love to say that my girls are not in any way materialistic, but they always want to know what what do they bring home for them when I get home?
Stephen what ways would you say that being a parent becoming a dad has fundamentally changed you
either can almost every conceivable way to be totally honest. You know, just the stand up comedy life is you know, one of the most I don’t want to say it’s individualistic, you know, you’re you get to see your friends in different places on the road. And it’s great when you have you know, friends from school that you can go visit and your your schedule is yours and that’s a fun part of things. But you know, it’s really an individual existence and to have the family life to come Back to now, I certainly not you don’t feel like you’re missing anything when you’re away and there’s not a family to come back to now, every, every day that I’m away, I feel like a missed something. So it changes things that way. And we’re fortunate that in the summer, I have a show that I do and what he put in Newfoundland every year that the family comes out with and I’m trying to do more and more of those things now where I can bring the family with me on the road and experience some of those things and, and the girls like the travel obviously. So it’s, it’s it’s changed fundamentally, everything for me. So
was family life and becoming a dad, something you always wanted.
You sort of don’t know if they find the right person, right? If I didn’t have Nancy who is probably the world’s best mom, I know it’s a tie between many, many moms, but she’s she’s in there. You find that person that’s so strong on their own, that you’re you feel okay, like to be away a little bit because they’re going to be they’re going to be okay, they’re in good hands. So, you know, I never thought about it really, until I met Nancy. And the fact that I had to go away for a month when our daughter was only one month old. And the first go around was a pretty good indication of how things were gonna be. And they, they’re okay, but I do I just miss being at home, whatever. I’m weighing up. Honestly, it it’s weird. But one of the great things about doing material about them is giving them a bit of a shout out every every night, you know, I’m saying this is what my daughter, Scarlett does. This is what my daughter Nora, does. I mentioned them by name. And then they’re they’re part of the show, even though they’re not there. So and I don’t know that that’ll that’ll ever stop for me now. And some comments or some people are like, Oh, you’re only going to talk about your? Well, maybe I don’t know, there that’s, that’s become the world. So try to try to make them characters in your show.
So for people who may not be familiar with your brand of comedy, how would you go about describing that?
That’s a good question. I don’t really know what the you know, with the brand would be I mean, a lot of people know me from hosting the debaters. So they, they’ll, like stand ups definitely different than that. Because they don’t get to do a lot of, of stand up. While hosting the show. I do like to talk about what’s going on in the world. But I’m generally talking about it from the context of being a dad of daughters. Now as opposed to just a person observing the news. So I and it’s I’ve always been a pretty clean comic. So I think, you know, when people say above the belt comedy, some people think oh, that’s what is it kids children’s comedy? Not really, it’s just, I think anyone can try to be funny by by a tirade of swear words. You know, kids think it’s just the swear words themselves phonies, I’d sort of think comedians that swear a lot is sort of being stuck in a bit of a juvenile phase. So I’ve tried to come beyond that. And, and just, you know, do stuff that everyone can laugh at. If I’m making fun of someone in the room, I want them to be laughing the loudest. And a lot of that has to do with my daughters, too. You know, I don’t want them making fun of people unless the people can laugh along with them. That said, you know, my daughter Scarlett is she’s inherited anything genetically. For me, it’s the ability to come back to a covenant which will probably get us in trouble throughout our life. But it’s, you know, there’s nothing wrong. Nothing wrong with a quick wit. I think so. She’s got that comfort. Steve,
what would you say are some of the funnier things that you’ve discovered about being a seasoned dad an older Dad?
Did you phrase seasoned dad did you copyright that? Like that? Yeah. Sounds like a barbecue book. Really. But Well, look, I’m in a different phase of, of life now. And it’s actually inspired me to want to take better care of myself because I want to be in as as good a shape physically to do things with my girls growing up as I can. And I had them late in life. So you know, definitely cleaned up my act. Just in terms of routines and habits and diet and still not, you know, still not the healthiest person in the world. But I realized that stuff that’s going on after 10 o’clock at night now and I’m okay to miss out on it. You know? I would I don’t even know when last time I watched a hockey game to the end was to be honest with you. I’m like, You boys have fun. I’m gonna I’m going to say that the outcome of this game is not as important to me as feeling good tomorrow when the girls wake up. So
it’s amazing how that happens, isn’t it?
Yeah, you know, and it’s, it feels good. It feels good to kind of go to bed and get up early. Go right on the peloton. You know, and just ride like I’m going somewhere.
Steve many parents struggle today for sure. To find humor in being a parent. There’s all kinds of unique challenges of that. We’re aware of depending on where we are with our ages and stages as parents, what would you suggest to somebody, a parent, a caregiver, as somebody who’s in the business of making people laugh, to keep things light, even in tough times, as a parent,
I think you gotta look for the little laughs throughout the day and or night, and take advantage of every opportunity to make each other laugh, because it’s so easy to get bogged down with the little things that add up to big things. And, you know, you’re going to be spending the majority of your time with each other. So, if you can make each other laugh, I think that’s the best. The best thing that could be in our, you know, our daughter, our youngest is four, you know, like, like lots of toddlers, she’s going through a phase where the word poop just makes her laugh. And, you know, we’ll talk about that eventually. But it really brings her so much joy right now. And any joke she tells has the word poop in the punch line, if it’s not the punch line just itself. And I know lots of parents want to talk their kids out of any sort of toilet talk, but it really brings her joy, it makes her laugh. And you know, we we try to refine it and work up from there. And she’s getting, she’s working on it. She’s building her material and Scarlets materials getting better and better. So I think that they, the girls love making us laugh. And I think that that’s a great skill to have. And, you know, I don’t laugh at everything. They say, I don’t want to make it too easy for them, but they’re pretty good. And I would just say, you know, it only takes about three seconds before you can laugh at almost any situation and parenting that has to do with with a mess that was made, you just gotta give yourself that beat. And, you know, just appreciate that sometimes things are going to be, quote unquote, demolished in your house, but you know, then it’s an obstacle course. It’s good. It’s good for your agility. So just jump over those things.
So how far away are we from pattern dad? Volume Two?
Oh, that’s a good? That’s a good question. I mean, the material presents itself every day. It’s really just a matter of honing it a bit and, and recording it. But I don’t think too long. You know, this could be something that’s out next year already. If I just pens which phase of life I want to want to get them out, it’ll be I would say in the next year or two, we’ll have the follow up to patterns and maybe the girls will have some guests tracks on the album. I would, I would say at least Scarlet will by then for sure. So it
certainly is an endless amount of content. Steve Patterson, stand up comedian whose latest comedy album is called pattern dad, Volume One. We appreciate you making time for us today. Thank you for having me. Be sure to watch the full video interview with Steve Patterson, as well as all of our guests at where parents That is our show. Thank you for listening. Hope you’ll join us next time.
Sign up for Lianne’s parenting newsletter and so much more at where parents This is where parents talk on 1059 the region

Patterson’s latest comedy album, Patterdad, Volume One, draws heavily from his life as a father. “I am the older dad now,” he says, highlighting the comedic potential of this role before his daughters start creating their own retorts.

The journey from being the youngest of five Irish boys to becoming a father to two young girls has provided Patterson with ample material. His transition from son to father, and from a house full of boys to raising daughters, has been a source of both humour and learning. He noted the inherent differences between boys and girls, which he finds both challenging and enlightening.

Patterson also shared the story of his journey to fatherhood, including his and his wife’s struggles with conception. Initially reluctant to include such personal details in his work, Patterson credited his wife, Nancy, for encouraging him to talk about their fertility challenges. The response from readers and listeners has been overwhelmingly positive, with many appreciating his honesty and humour in addressing a common, yet seldom discussed issue.

One particularly memorable moment involved an automated call from a fertility clinic, informing Patterson and his wife about the optimal time for conception. The call came while Nancy’s brother was visiting, leading to an awkward but ultimately humorous situation that Patterson included in his book.

Steve Patterson headshot wideBalancing his career with family life has not been easy for Patterson, who often travels for work. He spoke candidly about the guilt of being away and the measures he takes to stay connected with his family, such as bringing back gifts from his travels and mentioning his daughters by name in his performances.

Despite the challenges, Patterson sees his role as a father as fundamentally transformative.

His material now often revolves around family life, aiming to resonate with a broad audience by tapping into the universal experiences of parenting and family. His comedy remains clean, a deliberate choice that aligns with his family-friendly brand and ensures his daughters can enjoy his work without embarrassment.
Patterdad album cover

Patterson’s daughters, especially his eldest, Scarlett, are already showing signs of inheriting his quick wit. Scarlett has even opened a few of Patterson’s shows, showcasing her budding comedic talent. Patterson, aware of the potential for embarrassment, says he is mindful of how he portrays his family, always aiming to be respectful and considerate.

When asked about managing the unique challenges of modern parenting, Patterson emphasized the importance of finding humour in everyday moments. “Take advantage of every opportunity to make each other laugh,” he advised. His approach underscores the therapeutic power of humour in navigating the relentless demands of parenting.

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