Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights
The comedian's TV show is a mix of decent stand-up material and woeful sketches
(Channel 4 DVD)
Curious thing the moral barometer. After the faecal flood which surrounded the original Channel 4 showing of Tramadol Nights this time last year, some judicious cutting has been made to the DVD version. Gone is the Jordan/Harvey routine from episode two which had columnists trying to order up a guillotine for the public beheading of a well-known ginger Scot. Yet tucked quietly away on episode six is Frankie Boyle’s vision of the perfect British sitcom starring Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse as flatmates, culminating in painful, drug-induced deaths.
Still, it’s unlikely that anyone will buy this without being fully aware of the grime and gruel trapped within the box. The ambition shown by Boyle here is certainly refreshing as he bookends his hilariously sordid stand-up with some woefully (deliberately?) bad sketches which seem to serve little end other than making our stomachs churn. At least it’s mildly diverting to see what he looks like without his beard and specs.
Where the show works best is in the arena he has threatened to quit. The stand-up moments hold it all together with his traditional barbs at celebrities who feed off the publicity game, withering examinations of his front row and, less headline-making, the fact that he makes himself the butt of a large number of the jokes. Of course, there are some subjects of his gags who have been helpless pawns in more dastardly plans (daughters of the Fritzls and McCanns for two) but the treading of a dodgy line or ten is what makes the Frankie Boyle experience so riveting. Just make sure you have a hot bath run to cleanse your soul straight after this dose of Tramadol Nights.