Regular viewers of Channel 4's Mock the Week tap into a rich vein of humour from some of the sharpest knives in the comedy drawer, including the presenter, Dara O'Briain, Andy Parsons and the young pretender Russell Howard. But one of the keenest blades is Frankie Boyle, the caustic one with the spectacles. So it was with high hopes that I went to see the scathing Scotsman on the Midlands leg of his first national tour.
I was not alone. There was an enthusiastic, mainly young crowd in the club who filled up the uncomfortable chairs lined up in rows as if for a meeting in a village hall. The T5 is not the most dazzling venue in the region, but where better to see comedy in the raw?
So did the magic of television survive a transfer to the live stage? Well, like the curate's egg, Frankie Boyle was good in parts, but the quick-fire touch seemed to be missing. To be fair, he was funny, but not that funny. Where was the beef?
On the plus side, he made some sharp political observations and engaged in some good banter with the people he picked on in the audience – avoid the front rows if you are easily embarrassed – but there surely must come a time when comedians realise that it isn't necessary to punctuate every second sentence with a swear word. It is not a case of being prudish, it is just that it has become so tedious and smacks of laziness.
Also, it is inevitable that comedians will rely on tried and tested routines, especially on a gruelling slog of one-nighters, but it is a bit of a let-down to listen to a middle sequence of gags that had all been heard before on TV, such as his joke about modern bras and the difficulty in undoing them compared to the ease of undoing his grandmother's.
He surely can do better. Maybe I was unlucky and just caught Frankie off the boil.
Touring to 22 Jun (www.frankieboyle.com)
William Golden, Consultant, Northamptonshire