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The straight poop

Comedian and new dad Steve Patterson may be a master Debater but he's no master diaperer

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/10/2014 (902 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

This much is not debatable: Steve Patterson is a very, very, VERY busy fellow.

In addition to being on tour with his one-man show, maintaining his ongoing commitment as quip-happy quizmaster on CBC Radio's The Debaters, and hosting an upcoming second season of HGTV's I Wrecked My House, the usually unflappable funnyman is still trying to wrap his head around the challenges and responsibilities of being a brand-new dad.

Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson

"What they don't tell you, surprisingly, is that being a comic is pretty good training for it," says Patterson, who, alongside wife Nancy, welcomed Scarlett Patterson into the world on Aug. 31. "I only sleep two or three hours at a time anyway, so it's not that different. It's just that now I sometimes have to wake up and wipe someone's (bum) -- which, if you think about it, is also not that different from comedy sometimes. So it's been pretty good prep, overall."

Continued sleep deprivation notwithstanding, Patterson says he has immensely enjoyed the first month of his fatherhood experience, even if his limited contributions have left him feeling slightly irrelevant.

"I'm not a food source, and really, all she wants to do right now is wake up, eat and go back to sleep," he explains. "I'm not great at soothing her, and since I can't feed her, I'm essentially useless right now.

"I'm trying to contribute, but it's like many things in life -- once you've established that you're not any good at it, then you don't have to do it. I did one diaper change in which I did it too tight and pretty much cut off the circulation to the bottom of her body, and another one where it was too loose and she ended up with poop all over her back, so now there's no more diaper changes for Steve."

With that messy bit of business resolved, at least for the time being, Patterson is focused on the western Canadian swing of his This Is Not Debatable! tour.

It's a show he has been looking forward to for a long time, since this city was the site of the first early-workshop performances of the one-man show during the 2012 edition of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.

"That's where the genesis of the show was," he recalls, "and now it has progressed to become a semi-well-oiled machine. ... It's interesting -- I've seen quite a few one-person shows while I was getting ready to dress this one up; I found that the best shows are the most truthful ones, shows that don't have as much setup/punchline stuff but have more of the longer-form material.

"To me, it all goes back to watching (Scottish comedian) Billy Connolly -- you learn that you've got to trust yourself and that you're going to be funny, so you start with a premise and have an idea where you're going to end, and in the middle you've got some time to play around.

"That's what this show has progressed to -- it's never the same show, from night to night to night, because I feel free to go off on tangents and incorporate what's going on in the world now and what's on my mind... the crowd that comes each night will get a show that's just for them and that incorporates their city and what's happening that day."

Patterson said the current version of This Is Not Debatable! has stripped away most of the props and gimmicks that were part of the workshop version here, but still incorporates several musical numbers because, well, he enjoys mixing music and comedy.

"I will break into song a few times, which sort of sets it apart from other standup-comedy shows, but the rest is all standup and letters and point-of-view stuff, and playing around with the crowd, which all adds up to a 90-minute show," he explains.

One thing that is different about this current tour leg is that he won't let it go on too long before returning home to help mother and daughter in whatever meagre, pointless-male manner he can.

"I definitely want to keep touring," he says, "and since Nancy is actually also my manager, maybe we'll be able to turn it into a family affair. I would definitely like to have the whole family around as much as possible; I don't know exactly how that will work, but I hope we can do it -- because I know there's going to be a point sometime in the middle of this tour, when I'm in the middle of the Prairies, that I'll be thinking to myself, 'What the (expletive) is wrong with me? Why am I here when I've got an infant baby at home?'"

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @BradOswald

Read more by Brad Oswald.

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