Frank Skinner: Stand-Up!

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Following his embarrassing – if not humiliating – performance at Montreal’s Britcom showcases, Frank Skinner’s first solo stand-ups shows in more than a decade suddenly weren’t looking quite the big draw they once seemed.

But comics always learn far more from a bad gig than a good one – or at least they should – and thankfully Skinner picked up a pointer or two from that earlier debacle. So his own hour, while still not an unqualified triumph, was far from the terrible experience one might have feared.

On his own terms, and in front of an intimate audience of fewer than 50 fans, Skinner seemed more certain of himself, more content and certainly more likable. No mentions of his millionaire status certainly helped on that score.

However, the show still seemed relatively underpowered, and had all the feeling of a cosy chat than a relentlessly hilarious comedy routine. For a few of the self-deprecating conversational segments, this ambience worked well, especially his rather endearing description of how silly he felt using his car’s satnav on foot. All that needed was a stronger ending than a predictable Stephen Hawking gag.

Plenty of other sections failed to catch fire, however. An almost-topical discussion of Heather McCartney, to whom he was surprisingly sympathetic, danced around the sort of ideas many other comics have had, a ‘David Beckham is thick’ punchline took a long time coming, and his banter with the locals about Montreal didn’t bear much fruit.

On the credit side of the ledger, Skinner always seems to come alive when talking, or rather confessing, about his sexual exploits. During at least one of the earlier gigs, he managed to alienate the audience by not being contrite about one admission, but here he avoided that pitfall, with the jokes about various one-night stands quite clearly being on him.

Elsewhere he had good lines about things as diverse as Paris Hilton, dog treadmills and airport check-in desks; though it must still be disappointing that the biggest laugh of the night came from a variation on a much-emailed gag – albeit a very good one – about the Michael Jackson watch that tells you it’s time for bed when the big hand touches the little hand.

Overall, it’s an agreeable enough hour, with enough anecdotes and jokes to keep everyone happy, even if evidence that Skinner is ‘one of Britain’s finest comedians’, as billed, rather than simply a competent journeyman is still thin on the ground. That’s the folly of using one of the most high-profile comedy festivals in the world as a testing ground for an unpolished show.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Montreal, July 20, 2007

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.