Comedy: Frank Skinner London Palladium
`Skinner's knack is to make you forget about the other 1,999 people and make you think you're his best mate'
Tuesday 14 November 1995
Despite being a big enough star to have his own BBC1 series, Skinner remains defiantly down-to-earth. Indeed, his messy appearance - shirt- tails hanging out of his trousers, tousled hair - rather clashed with the dry ice, the Las Vegas set ("Frank" spelt out in 10ft-high letters against a galactic backdrop apparently borrowed from the opening titles of Star Trek) and the smart, showbizzy ambience of a venue whose very corridors are haunted by the slick shades of Tarby and Brucie and other scions of the pro-celebrity golf wing of comedy. But Skinner's great knack is to cause you to forget about the glitz and the other 1,999 people and make you think you're his best mate.
All comedians want to be liked; very few manage this successfully. At the end, some lads in Luton Town shirts at the front were chanting as though "Skinner" was the name of their football team. Even his put-downs of hecklers -"What's you name? Don't feel you have to rush. You've probably got it on a tattoo" - are done with the smile of a cuddly assassin.
The key to Skinner's appeal is his candour. By apparently taking every single person into his confidence, he makes them all feel special. If someone tells you of their bed-wetting and masturbating exploits, then you're bound to feel privileged (even if the stories may have been tickled up for public consumption.) A full recounting of Skinner's sexual preferences - laid out in glorious detail on stage - is not suitable for a family newspaper. After casually recalling, "One night I was having anal sex, right..." he interrupted himself with a laugh. "You know, that might be the first time that sentence has been said on this grand old stage."
He went on to tell tales that would probably raise more than the eyebrows of viewers who only know him as the cheeky jokesmith sparring with Bob Monkhouse on Gagtag. About the most printable was his reflection on the supposed braininess of dogs: "I don't respect the intelligence of any animal that is surprised by its own farts."
There's no reason why Skinner shouldn't go on as long as Monkhouse. His bloke-next-door image appeals to all ages. As if to confirm that, Sunday's show climaxed with Michael Aspel scuttling on stage to present Skinner with the This Is Your Life book.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Goodfellas star Frank Sivero sues for $250m over Simpsons character
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
Breaking Bad season 6 hoax: Vince Gilligan has not confirmed a new series
MOBO awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with another double elimination
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'