Becoming a dad can do funny things to guys. And sometimes becoming a dad can just be damn funny. We spoke to Matt Coyne the creator of the hilarious ‘Man vs Baby’ about his insane rise to global stardom, his new book ‘Dummy’ and the Photoshop skills that got him there.
D.A.D: Hi Matt, you’ve had one hell of a ride in the last 18 months since becoming a dad and creating Man vs Baby, how’s life treating you at the moment?
MC: It’s terrible. My brain and body are a wreckage. The house looks like the ‘end of days’. I look and feel like a prisoner of war. And, I’ve never been happier.
D.A.D: Did you have any idea of how your life was going to change before you had a kid?
MC: Not at all. I thought before Charlie arrived it would be a bit like getting a dog. We’ve got quite a high maintenance jack russell called Eddie and I thought having a kid would be like having a puppy. But it turns out you can’t just let a baby out into the back garden or put its food down in a dish. Babies are 24 hours, seven days a week, attention-seeking balls of energy-sucking humanity. And the pressure to get it right is all consuming because they are completely dependent on you to stay alive.
It’s terrifying and proper hard work. And, in hindsight, my ‘busy’ life before becoming a parent consisted primarily of sitting around in my pants, watching shit TV and eating crisps. I honestly can’t remember what I did with my life before.
D.A.D: I can relate to that, there’s nothing that pisses me off more than when people without kids are late for things. There is seriously no excuse for that.
Have you got any childcare routine sorted? Are you still working? We heard you were a graphic designer, which explains the nifty photoshop skills in some of your blog posts!
MC: I am still working as a graphic designer, eventually I want to write full time but daren’t give up the day job just yet. I keep being told not to worry about the book selling but until it comes out on April 20th and people start buying it, I still have this overwhelming fear that I’ll end up with 20,000 copies of ‘Dummy’ in my garage and unemployed. So, yeah I’m still working as a very average, jobbing designer. I’m a stay at home dad for 2 days a week though, which provides all the material I need for ‘Man vs Baby’.
D.A.D: What compelled you to start writing Man vs Baby?
MC: I don’t remember. That’s the truth. I was in that alternate universe of early parenthood at the time and one day I just started writing. My first post was when Charlie was 3 months old. I remember going to Meadowhall shopping centre and while Lyns went for a wander around the shops I wrote about my first few months as a dad. It ended up being over a thousand words long and I wrote the whole thing on my phone!? I suppose if something compelled me to write it, it was just to document the way that I was feeling at the time. To try and make some sort of sense of the whole thing.
D.A.D: The stories are hilarious. You’ve hit a chord with a lot of parents, why do you think that is?
MC: I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s just because I’m crap. I’m immature and dim and disorganised and that’s what most humans are. That doesn’t change just because you become a parent. For me, a lot of being a parent is getting from 5am to 8pm every day without anybody dying or getting hurt. So, all I try and do is hold up a mirror to the weirdness and joy and the common experiences of those hours and hope people enjoy reading it.
D.A.D: It’s clear through the way you write, no matter how many times Charlie smacks you in the face, that you love being a parent. What are the best and worst parts?
MC: The best thing is that it’s fascinating. Ever changing, ever interesting, nothing ever stays the same. But that’s also the worst thing. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of something it changes or what you’ve mastered becomes useless. The very best thing about being a parent though is Charlie. He’s smart and funny and perfect and best of all he thinks I’m hilarious without me putting in any effort. I can just put a pillow case on my head and he will piss himself. That’s brilliant.
D.A.D: What advice would you give to guys expecting their first baby?
MC: Never shop for a pram or a car-seat sober.
D.A.D: What’s next for Man vs Baby?
MC: I have a deal to write a second book with my publishers at Headline which is great. I’ve had talks about doing some TV stuff too, scripts and that sort of thing which I’ve always wanted to do. I’m also hoping to get some sleep at some point which I’m extremely excited about. But mainly I’m looking forward to watching Charlie grow up. And can’t wait to introduce him to Star wars and Back to the Future and Sheffield Wednesday and Philip Pullman and ACDC and creme eggs. And all the other things about this planet that make being a brand new creature, with things to discover, such an exciting thing.
Matt’s debut book ‘Dummy’ is released on the 20th April. Get a copy here.