Sometimes we need to hear that being imperfect as a parent is not only normal, it’s ruddy awesome. Who better to deliver that news than comedy duo Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn, better known as The Scummy Mummies, who perform songs about the PTA and Captain Birdseye. We grabbed Ellie between shows to ask some very serious questions.
How did the pair of you meet and when did you introduce gold catsuits into the relationship?
We met at a terrible stand up comedy night in a shipping container under a flyover in Deptford. Helen was doing jokes about her husband and her sex life, and I was doing jokes about my sex life and my husband, so we got on quite well. We later discovered our sons were born 11 days apart, with the help of the same midwife. We started the podcast a few months after we met, and performed our first live show a few months after that. It was about a year later that the catsuits first appeared, and they’ve been with us ever since.
You’re very candid about what life as a parent is really like. What has been the biggest shock of your parenting adventure so far?
To be honest, I didn’t expect to love it so much. I thought I’d go back to full time work asap after my baby was born, but everything changed and was different to how I thought it would be. Yes, hard and exhausting and boring all the rest of it – God knows we bang on about all that in our material – but so amazing too. I only started comedy when he was 18 months old and even then had no idea I’d end up touring the country with an Australian in a gold catsuit. So that’s been a bit of a shock, too.
You’ve had some amazing guests on your podcast to date. Of all the episodes you’ve recorded, which one has been your favourite and why?
That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! Of course I have one, but I’d never reveal who. All our guests have been brilliant, whether they’re talking about serious topics or making Helen laugh so hard she snorts. Well, almost all. And no, I’m not telling you about our least favourite either. You’ll just have to listen and guess.
Fish fingers or chicken dippers?
Fish dippers. When you think about it, who decided fish should be fingers and chicken should be dippers? Neither animal has fingers. Or naturally comes in dipper/nugget form. Why not fish nuggets? Why not chicken fingers? These are the things I think about when I want to distract myself from Brexit, environmental apocalypse etc.
Mummy Social believes motherhood is better when you’ve got a pal to vent to. What do ‘mum friends’ mean to you?
I completely agree. Meeting Helen changed my life – just to have someone to talk to about the hard bits and the shit days, who didn’t judge in return, but came up with a funny story even worse than mine. Our kids are older now but we still love a good moan, whether it’s about swimming lessons (WHY IS IT SO HOT IN THERE?) or Jacob Rees-Mogg (WE ALL KNOW WHAT HOUSE THE SORTING HAT WOULD PUT HIM IN).
The Scummy Mummies Podcast is available free from iTunes, scummymummies.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
The Scummy Mummies book is out now, and you can see them perform their live comedy show all over the country – visit scummymummies.com or follow them on instagram @scummymummies for dates and tickets.
Photographer: Andrew Crowley