One of comic duo Tracey Tee and Shayna Ferm’s favorite parts of their “Pump and Dump Show: Parentally Incorrect Tour” is when incoming audience members fill out notecards with the most messed up thing their child has done, and they get to read them and choose which ones to present live on stage.
They'll have the chance to do it again when they come May 18 to The Paramount in Huntington — and tickets to their show would be a perfect Mother's Day present, they shamelessly contend. Parents whose stories are shared won’t have to raise their hand and admit it was them. “If they want to hide, that’s fine,” Ferm jokes. But if they do come clean, the whole audience usually erupts in applause. “The whole thing about this ‘Pump and Dump’ show is the camaraderie and commiseration that occurs between a thousand moms in one space,” Ferm says. “There’s nothing like laughing.”
The shows are dubbed Pump and Dump as a hat tip to breast-feeding, but also as a metaphor for a chance to get the weight of parenting off your chest, they say. In addition to the segment about children’s mortifying antics — “poop on the wall, poop coming out of diapers, poop at school, just so much poop,” Tee says — their variety show includes a "Family Feud"-style, audience participation segment called “Cervix Says” and songs about parenting written and performed by Ferm. “It’s not kid bashing or husband bashing. It’s not standing on the stage with a martini in your hand complaining about who does the laundry," Tee says. Adds Ferm: “The show is really based on moms’ experiences.”
Tee and Ferm know from which they speak. Tee, 43, has an 8-year-old daughter. Ferm, 41, has an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. The moms have known each other since eighth grade in Parker, Colorado. After college, they went to opposite ends of the country to perform, Tee to Los Angeles and Ferm to New York City. Both returned to Denver to raise their families. “We found out each other were pregnant on Facebook,” Ferm says. Their daughters were born three weeks apart, and they reconnected on a playdate when both were in the new throes of parenting.
“We both felt like moms needed a night out,” Tee says. And they were just the performers to give it to them. They started their Pump and Dump shows in Denver seven years ago, and they became so popular they started touring nationally in 2014. The show is geared primarily to mothers with children younger than 5, reflecting “those early, early years, when you don’t know what you’re doing, you think you’re doing everything wrong and your kid will perish if you make a misstep,” Tee says. Moms will often come with their playgroups or with several generations of mothers in one family, she says.
Tee and Ferm aren’t internet stars (even though they do have a Facebook and Instagram presence and do weekly podcasts), and coming to one of their shows isn’t about meeting them as celebrities, they say. “Our show is completely about the moms,” Ferm says. “Reminding moms that nobody’s perfect, it’s a really powerful thing.”
And, a plus, parents will be home by 10 p.m. Says Ferm: “We know how tough it is to go out when you have to get up with your kids."
WHAT "The Pump and Dump Show: Politically Incorrect Tour”
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. May 18 at The Paramount (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), 370 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO $39.50; 631-673-7300, thepumpanddumpshow.com