Then wot happened? After the taiko drumming and the basketball and all other adventures I went Christmas shopping, then in a fit of sadomasochistic lust decided to watch Frankie Boyle’s If I Could Reach out Through Your TV and Strangle You, I Would. What the fuck am I doing watching this shit when Tim Minchin is playing with an orchestra at the MEN Arena tomorrow night and I don’t have a ticket?
I’ve not outright decided that I hate this Frankie Boyle show; the problem I have with it is (I think) the grinning braying whooping whistling hooting hollering morons that seem to comprise his audience. As he reveals material about Jade Goody’s vagina getting tighter as she died of cervical cancer the audience wolf whistle and cheer as though he is just saying what we are all thinking. For comedy that extreme surely the point is that nobody in their right mind would think like that, let alone approve of it en masse.
It has an air of the rally about it; scary, dark, unwelcoming for the outsider, yet warm and cosy for the initiated and the brainwashed. There is of course something appealing in saying the unsay-able, but the audience here don’t seem to perceive it that way. There is no division and no dissenting voice, just fields of unquestioning mindless grazing. I no longer know if Frankie Boyle speaks ‘ironically’, or if he is just a fascistic mean cunt bullying the weak, the defenceless and the easiest targets, or if he is playing a character that has got out of hand.
He is playing to his audience of one-dimensional, sub-literate wankers and possibly is one of them. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by genuinely funny comedy like Tim Vine, genuinely clever and articulate comedy like Tim Minchin, and genuinely artistic and thoughtful comedy like Stuart Lee, but Frankie Boyle just doesn’t seem to cut it. A lot of his jokes are pretty funny, but without any sort of context they just become rude words, bullying, hate rallies and racism.
Is he trying to say something with his comedy; trying to make us think about the way we perceive the world? Or is he just saying retards, spastics, pakis, mingers, dying bastards, abused children – aren’t the different and the unfortunate hilarious!? Has he adopted the posturing and the pretences of the post-modern to disguise the fact that he is the new Bernard Manning, the new Chubby Brown? Well, I don’t fucking know, do I?
If you want genuinely funny and intelligent comedy exploring the boundaries of taste go for Stuart Lee’s 90’s Comedian or Richard Herring’s Hitler Moustache. The 'filth' or 'bad language' is part of a narrative exploring themes within the context of the overall show, and not just repetitive abuse. For impassioned venting and potent attempts to be the change he wants to see I can’t beat Mark Thomas’s Dambusters. And for hilarious, intelligent, brave and very funny pure comedy, you can’t beat a bit of Tim Vine: