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Review: Frank Skinner: Man In A Suit at Newcastle City Hall

The laddishness of Skinner's stand up has mellowed somewhat, although there was still more than a sprinkling of filth among the Haiku

Ian West/PA Wire Frank Skinner
Frank Skinner

As anyone who follows me on twitter (@samwonfor for anyone who wants to start) may have seen, my journey to see Frank Skinner at Newcastle City Hall (aka @Cityh4ll) was a wet one.

Safe to say that by the time I took my seat, ‘he better be funny’ had gone through my mind more than once as I wondered whether wrung out socks would feel any better than sopping ones.

It’s a testament to Skinner’s innate funniness and well-honed ability to command the evening - don’t let the casual, if suited delivery fool you - that the state of my feet didn’t cross my mind until I was all tucked up at home. But enough about my extremities.

This show marked the popular comic’s return to the stand up stage after seven years away. In that time, he’s become a father and set up camp in his mid 50s, which no doubt accounts for the mellowing of his stand up schtick.

That and his admission that his sex drive now resembles more of an ‘overgrown path’.

Back when he established himself as a top drawer comic, Frank Skinner was known for delivering a show which had been marinated in filth. And then left to stew for a bit.

These days the rude bits represent more of a substantial sprinkling - and associated gag garnish of course - than the main course. And although this development may not have pleased one balcony-residing heckler (who Frank seemed thrilled to have to deal with in funny fashion), the rest of us were only too happy to listen while he meandered through a collection of pretty much unconnected thoughts, anecdotes and observations.

Oh, and examples from his recent foray into writing his own brand of haikus.

There’s no denying that the biggest belly laughs came when he dipped his toe - or nose as it turned out - into the melting pot of material which crosses the waistband line when it comes to decency.

But the rest of the show more than fuelled a running engine of giggles - the audience interaction was a particular treat - which I think is sometimes harder to pull off.

This tour’s title comes from a routine in which Frank wonders whether his back catalogue of unwanted two-pieces would fetch more for Oxfam if people knew they’d once been his, and includes a member of the crowd being asked to place him on the celebrity spectrum which has Madonna at 100 and the woman who put a cat in a wheelie bin at number one.

She placed him at 75. I’m betting if the spectrum we were talking about had related to stand up comedy, he’d have been squarely in the top 10.


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