Life

Dad Boys Shane Todd and Dave Elliott share their parenting adventures in podcast

When comedians and best friends Shane Todd and Dave Elliott each became dads during lockdown, they were inspired to share their parenting adventures with a wider audience. They talk to Jenny Lee about sleepless nights, porridge consistency, being blinded by baby sick and what listeners to their Dad Boys podcast can expect

Shane Todd and Dave Elliott feature in the Dad Boys podcast
Shane Todd and Dave Elliott feature in the Dad Boys podcast Shane Todd and Dave Elliott feature in the Dad Boys podcast

TEN years ago young up-and-coming comedians Shane Todd and Dave Elliott first met at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Their friendship has grown during the past decade and after both became dads during lockdown, the pals have decided to put together a new podcast based on their parenting adventures.

Dad Boys is a new BBC Radio Ulster podcast aiming to tackle some of the more difficult aspects of parenthood in an entertaining way, which expectant, new and experienced mums and dads can all relate to.

"It's basically two best mates chatting to other dads about their experiences in an entertaining way," says Shane (32), who welcomed his baby son into the world last July.

"We have well-known guests and a great parenting expert to balance out our silliness.

"It's all fun - even when it isn't at the time. When he wakes up at 5am it's a crushing defeat.

"I go downstairs in foul form but when he smiles and sticks his tongue out it's hard not to just laugh."

The Holywood comedian admits his favourite parenting job so far is in the kitchen.

"I'm a big fan of making his porridge in the morning. I've become obsessed with perfecting the consistency," says Shane.

"Say what you want about me and my comedy, but don't say my oats aren't perfect."

Perhaps a new cookery show beckons for Shane in the future?

Dave Elliott pictured with his Dad Boys co-host during last year's Shane Todd's Lockdown Rave on BBC Radio Ulster
Dave Elliott pictured with his Dad Boys co-host during last year's Shane Todd's Lockdown Rave on BBC Radio Ulster Dave Elliott pictured with his Dad Boys co-host during last year's Shane Todd's Lockdown Rave on BBC Radio Ulster

In Dad Boys each week, first-time father Shane and Dave - a battle-hardened veteran with two young daughters, Holly (3) and Matilda (7 months) - discuss and debate various aspects of parenthood with a celebrity guest.

This includes pregnancy with Danny Wallace, birth with Alan Davies, and sleep with Arron Crascall.

Both Shane and Dave hope the podcast will give them some sage advice to make their own parenting easier.

"The whole thought at the beginning of the podcast for me was to try and learn a bit more and be empathetic and make the right choices," says Dave, who admits he has made more than a few parenting mistakes.

The biggest of these, he says, was presuming that his second child would be the same as his first, in terms not only of temperament but also her digestive system...

"Holly was never a sicky baby and when she was little I loved holding her up high in the air," he recalls.

"I did the same with Matilda and unexpectedly she just let everything go all over me.

"I've quite a big beard and the sick got it in my ears, my mouth, my nose and my beard. Getting blinded by newborn baby sick was the most horrific experience of my life.

"I've never lifted her above my head since."

The biggest help to me so far in parenting to be honest has been a puppy training manual - Dave Elliott

Each Dad Boys podcast discussion will be dissected - and corrected... - by the show's resident birth and parenting expert Alex Kremer.

"I've never good at dressing the children," says Dave.

"I always thought comfort was the key and would have the baby wearing babygrows on a sunny day, which I've learnt is totally ridiculous.

"We also discuss the right way to approach sleeping. Shane and I have different approaches to sleep, but what we've discovered is it's what works best for the individual child."

Shane agrees that when it comes to parenting he's discovered "lots of stuff he wished he'd known", but he also says new parents shouldn't "take every bit of advice you're given". You have to "figure out your own way", is how he puts it.

Shane Todd meets Dave Elliott's first-born daughter, Holly
Shane Todd meets Dave Elliott's first-born daughter, Holly Shane Todd meets Dave Elliott's first-born daughter, Holly

Both comedians are known for their observational and anecdotal humour about everyday life.

So will dad jokes become a permanent feature of their stand-up routines in the years to come?

"It's a good excuse when a joke doesn't work," laughs Shane.

"Maybe not 'dad comedy' but I am well into dad fashion. A fleece and a pair of slacks does me rightly."

In terms of his funniest parenting moment, Shane recalls a between-lockdowns visit to the Slieve Donard resort in Newcastle last summer. His son was just a couple of months old.

"I felt like a hero carrying him into the hotel in his car seat," remembers Shane.

"We hadn't really had a chance to take him out up until then.

"My wife nearly screamed the place down when she pointed out the handle of the car seat wasn't clicked into place.

"I was dandering through the foyer with my son suspended in the air like he was skydiving. Luckily he had his belt on."

Dave first shared his triumphs and adversities from parenthood in his stage show DAD back in 2018.

"When you're doing stand-up in your 20s you are maybe thinking in your mind that you are cool, but you're not.

"Once we had her first child lots of things happened which I thought was really funny and I realised being a dad is who I am and I didn't have to talk about current affairs, politics and social media in my gigs."

This December Dave will bring his new solo show, Pillowtalk, to the Ulster Hall.

"It's about those silly things you talk about when lying in bed," he explains.

"Kids won't be the focus of that show, but of course they might feature in it because they are a big part of my life."

And when it comes to dealing with tantrums, hands-on-dad Dave believes he has it all sussed - thanks to a rather unusual source.

"The biggest help to me so far in parenting, to be honest, has been a puppy training manual," he confesses.

"With the kids it's been very much on-the-job learning, but with the dog I read up lots about using positive reinforcement for good behaviour rather than telling them off for bad behaviour.

"I've found that works the same with my three-year-old."

The Dad Boys podcast with Shane Todd and Dave Elliott is available now on BBC Sounds.