“Knob jokes with depth” is what Frank Skinner says he has to offer these days. It's seven years since his last tour and 17 since Three Lions, and on his opening night in Soho, Skinner, 55, ponders how he fits into today's comedy landscape. He's ditched the filth, he says, for sophistication.
Perhaps. Skinner still loves a bit of blue, and it's his trump card, held for the end. His routines about how he's developed his oral sex and dirty talk, don't break any ground, but they are exquisite, and surprising. Is there a better comic on the subject of sex? I'd argue not.
Depth is lacking though – or at least, dwelling on a subject long enough to anchor this 90-minute show. Instead it's a drifter. Highly accomplished and very funny, but a drifter all the same.
Pleasingly, he still has the old twinkle in his eye. When he speaks about fame – wondering whether his old suits should go to Oxfam or on eBay, discussing YouTube comments with Prince Charles – he does so with mischief and humility. No middle-aged cynicism, no earnest politics, just same old Frank. And his old-school variety act charm, rather than making him a relic, gives him an edge on his peers.
Runs until November 23, then Leicester Square Theatre January 21 - February 22