When comedian, writer and producer Dan Levy learned he would be a new father, he solicited parenting advice from an unsung group of experts: actual kids.
In April, Levy collaborated with Jensen Karp, a producer and former rapper, to create "Baby Talk" — a monthly comedy show based around three to four comedians asking children between the ages of 5 and 10 questions like "What should I name my son?" (one child suggesting the name Ritzy Skittles) and "What should I do if my kid wakes up in the middle of the night and says he had a nightmare?" (another child suggesting to promptly pour sugar on the bed).
"Nothing ever makes sense. They provide no legitimate or valuable advice," Levy said about the eclectic group of kids he has interviewed.
"Baby Talk," held at NerdMelt Showroom, has featured comedians such as B.J. Novak, Whitney Cummings and John Mulaney. Before the child is brought on stage, each comedian is allotted a 15-minute set to try out his or her own non-child-friendly material (the kids are kept in the green room during these segments, wolfing down candy, unable to hear the set).
The featured children are discovered through a kids talent agency, Clear Talent Group, and dozens are pulled in for a series of auditions until the ideal candidate is selected.
"Sometimes you don't know what kind of kid you're going to get," Levy explained of the different personas kids present during their audition versus on stage, clearly illustrated by one 8-year-old girl who goes by the stage name Brookie the Cookie.
"When [Brookie the Cookie] came to the audition, I had no idea she was going to come out [dressed] as a flight attendant, do a sexy dance in front of B.J. Novak and make everyone feel awkward for 45 minutes."
But that's precisely what she did — as well as divulge family secrets, exhibit her resentment toward men and slap Levy in the face when he attempted to take part in her dance.
Throughout the show, Levy and his band of comedians strive to veer the conversation back to parenting topics, but often the kids have their own agenda and their own idea of what the show should be about. And more often than not, allowing the kids' creative freedom to run wild produces highly entertaining and surprising moments for the audience.
While some kids, like Brookie, use their stage time to exhibit their performance skills, others, like Alexandra Meyer, 7, critique Hollywood and its major players.
To which Mulaney quickly retorted, "I think we just found out who Nikki Finke is."
'Baby Talk' with Dan Levy
Who: Paul Scheer, Jenny Johnson, Julian McCullough
Where: NerdMelt Showroom, 7522 Sunset Blvd., L.A.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Price: $8 advance, $10 at the door