Frankie, What’s The Matter?

Frankie Boyle Live at Hammersmith Apollo

Scottish comedian and former star of the BBC’s excellent Mock the Week, Frankie Boyle put tickets for his series of Apollo shows a whole fifteen months in advance. I know this, as I bought a ticket thinking that it was for 2009, before having a double take at the ticket when I received it and realising that I did, in fact, have a long time to wait! This was when he was still a resident panelist on Mock the Week and I thought his acerbic wit would translate well to a live environment. But then a lot can happen in fifteen months of showbiz.

After one too many jokes that were considered ‘unsuitable’ for a television audience, despite the post-9pm screening, Boyle was booted off the show and back to the realms of the stand-up comedy circuit. If you can call a series of shows at one venue to be a circuit! But you get the gist. From what I witnessed at a recent show, he is relishing being released from the shackles of primetime TV, free to vent his spleen at those easiest to target – recently deceased, special needs and religious figures. Nothing like going for the easy targets, right?

I have to admit to wondering if I had made the right decision in buying tickets and I took my seat with some trepidation of what was to follow. And Boyle certainly gave us what we were all expecting. Jokes in the worst possible taste. But then, as he so ineloquently put it when challenging an audience member who wasn’t laughing at his jokes, why would you buy a ticket if you were likely to be offended easily?

It’s not as if some of the jokes weren’t funny, especially the ones about the recent visitor to London, the Pope – one of his favourite targets it seems. He can produce very clever comedy, but he clearly has a dark and twisted view of the world. One has to question why he is like this. Why does he feel the need to pick on the most vulnerable of society to gain cheap laughs? I think he is smart enough to make us all laugh with cutting edge observational comedy, just like when he was on the BBC, so I wonder what motivates him to be so ‘below the belt’ in his live shows. What’s his problem?

And for those of you who missed his shows, he uses the same jokes plus abuses the audience members in his late night Channel 4 show, so watch it and it will be just like seeing him live, but for free.


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