COMEDY: Reviews

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The Independent Culture
Frank Skinner, Jersey Fort Regent (01534 500227), 3 Sept; Guildford Spectrum (01483 443322), 4 Sept; Southend Cliffs Pavillion (01702 351135) 5 & 6 Sept. Tour hotline on 0891 887766.

While questions remain about his BBC1 chat show - with guests ranging from Tony Blair to Ozzy Osborne, it can seem a little hit and miss - no one doubts Frank Skinner's supreme gifts as a live comedian. Few others can work the London Palladium as though it were a small smoky room.

TV megastar or not, he has never lost that ability to appear as "one of us", the cheeky chappie making everyone laugh down the pub. That was what made his appearances with his then real-life flatmate David Baddiel on BBC2's Fantasy Football League so winning.

The twist in the tail of Skinner's stand-up act is the rudeness. Although he was picked off by TV watchdogs for certain aspects of his chat show - a sketch about throwing monkeys into a skip made this animal-loving nation particularly hot under the collar - that was a Sunday school outing compared to the live product.

The warning on the posters that the show contains material that "some might find offensive" hardly does justice to routines which in the past have included in-depth discussions of the joys of anal sex. The mark of the man, however, is that you don't feel offended by all this. Issues of taste and decency come a distant second to how much you warm to him.


Very rarely do poets make front-page news, but that is what happened to Murray Lachlan Young when his reported pounds 1 million deal with EMI was recently announced. Check out the eye-catching, Byronic performance of his satirical poems about the media at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh (0131 2262428) tonight.