HAVING children despite both parents having cerebral palsy is so irresponsible. Isn’t it?

Many viewers of the BBC One documentary from 2017, We Won’t Drop the Baby, seemed to believe so as they were horrified that comedian Laurence Clark and wife Adele, both diagnosed with the condition which affects movement and coordination, dared to consider bringing a second child into the world.

And Laurence (45), who spent his teenage years living in Hexham, addresses the attitudes of some viewers in his latest stand-up show, An Irresponsible Father’s Guide to Parenting, featuring starring roles from sons Tom (14) and Jamie (8).

Laurence, an internationally-acclaimed comedian, playwright, screenwriter and actor, said: “People will probably know me best from the documentary, for which we had a camera thrust in our faces for seven months.

“At the time, my wife was pregnant with our second child and our house was being knocked down and being rebuilt to make a room for the baby, and among all that we had a camera in our face asking how we were feeling. That was very stressful.

“The reason we decided to do the documentary was to raise something about being parents, as disabled people being parents isn’t seen very much, I don’t think.

“The documentary got put on YouTube where people are allowed to comment the first thing that comes in their heads.

“I had a weird day once where I checked the 1,000 plus comments left. Quite a lot of them were nice, some were funny and a few of them were really nasty.

“Some examples of this were ‘how do you even make a baby?’, ‘how unfair it was on our children’ and ‘how irresponsible it was for us to have children’.

“When you read something like that, you have to respond and my show is the best way of doing that.”

He responds to such negative comments with the typical tongue-in-cheek wit which has seen him win fans from across the globe.

Telling jokes at his own expense and recycling stereotypical comments aimed at him, his stand-up routine has already had audiences across the UK in stitches of laughter.

And the addition of his sons sharing their views on some of the negative comments, adopting their father’s style of humour, has been somewhat of a masterstroke.

Laurence said: “I let the children read these comments in my show and they make a big contribution. I can say that I’m a good dad to anybody but there’s something about them doing it and them taking the mickey out of these people which is way more powerful. They become the stars of the show because their role is integral.

“It’s about taking this negativity and turning it into a positive, in a funny way. We use the comment about ‘how unfair it is on the children’ in the show and Tom hits back and tells the audience how ‘it’s great because, when we went to Disney World, we got to skip all the queues’.

“Adele and I having cerebral palsy never really impacts on us as a family, it only ever does when other people make it an issue really.”

By using his talents as a top class comedian, Laurence is helping dispel the misconceptions levelled at disabled parents.

He said: “I think comedy is a really powerful way of making people change their minds.

“You can do a day’s training on how to behave, but it’s way more powerful if you can make them laugh and make them see the world through our eyes.”

Laurence will end his UK tour of his latest show in Hexham, at the Queen’s Hall on November 30. His mother Margaret, the former manager of the Hexham Community Centre Playgroup, still lives in the town.

It will be a bittersweet moment for him although he will be able to mix business with pleasure, with Tom and Jamie excited to spend time with their grandmother.

He said: “The Hexham one is the last show in the tour and I will be a little bit sad when it’s over because it gets such a good reaction.”

An Irresponsible Father’s Guide to Parenting was the latest feather in Laurence’s cap alongside appearances on BBC, ITV and Channel 4, being named funniest new comedian by Shortlist Magazine and blogging for The Independent and The Guardian.

Not bad for somebody who’s route into comedy seemed unlikely due to his condition.

Laurence explained: “I went away to university and did a PhD in computing and I hated it because everybody would just sit at their computers all day and you didn’t talk to anybody. It drove me insane.

“I really started stand-up as a hobby because it didn’t seem like an obvious career for somebody who speaks like me, but I did want to be a comedy writer. I wrote scripts but didn’t get anywhere

“Doing stand-up was a way of trying out my material and I went to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. I got really good reviews and that made me realise I could make a career out of it.”

Laurence’s appearance at the Queen’s Hall comes during a side-splittingly funny spell at the venue.

On the back of gigs from the likes of well-known UK comics Matt Forde, Jason Byrne and Sindhu Vee, the venue has also managed to attract the star names of Simon Brodkin, Justin Moorhouse, Andy Parsons and, this weekend, I, Daniel Blake star Dave Johns.

On top of this, the eagerly awaited West End hit, An Evening with Eric and Ern, will head to the Tyne Valley next week.

Katy Taylor, artistic director at the Queen’s Hall, said: “The weather is closing in and the world seems a difficult place at the moment, so bringing laughter and fun to Hexham is more important than ever.

“Our hilarious comedy line-up is bringing real joy to our audience and well-known comedians are enjoying a warm Northumberland welcome.

“Keep your eyes out for more comedy at the Queen’s Hall, and come and join us for a great laugh in Hexham.”

After Dave Johns’ visit to Hexham tomorrow evening, it will be the turn of Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens to entertain a Tynedale audience with their impressions of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise on October 25.

The ‘Northern Joker’ Justin Moorhouse, who appeared in hit TV comedy Phoenix Nights, will perform on November 13 and Mock the Week and Radio 4 favourite Andy Parsons will gig on December 4.

Into 2020, the man behind the often controversial comedy creation Lee Nelson, Simon Brodkin will visit on February 7.