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'

You know that bloke who sits in the corner at the local pub and transfixes his audience with colourful tales about sex, lies and vomiting? Well, he was performing on Sunday night - not to a handful in the snug at the Ferret and Fist, but to 2,000 at the London Palladium. And his name was Frank Skinner.

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.

JAMES RAMPTON

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam