Frank Skinner: Showbiz
- Murray Robertson
- 21 November 2019
This article is from 2019
A coming-of-older-age stand-up set with a smattering of bite
It's hard to believe that Frank Skinner is in his seventh decade. Not only does the 62-year-old look much younger than that, but it was surely only a few years ago that he was one of the comedy scene's biggest upstarts. Together with David Baddiel (seven years his junior) he rode the crest of 90s lad culture, presenting TV's Fantasy Football League and, with 'Three Lions', co-writing a football anthem that has become the de facto theme to English football for more than two decades.
Following a seven-year stint hosting Room 101, Skinner's audience is now much closer to his own age, a fact he addresses at the top of Showbiz. Off the bat, he tests this older crowd with a nice line in black comedy before dismissively puncturing the reputation of a departed and beloved light entertainer. Throughout the show he happily takes aim at other performers for their various perceived slights.
Ageing forms the aching backbone of the evening and, while he reasonably bemoans some of the more unpleasant aspects of that process, Skinner is refreshingly comfortable with getting older, intrigued by some strange changes happening to his body. Much of this acceptance is undoubtedly due to becoming a father at the age of 55. He rails at how, when he comes up with jokes in day-to-day life among friends, some of what he regards as vintage material falls flat: something many of tonight's other dads will surely sympathise with, however erroneously.
Skinner sometimes engages with members of the front row and here his three-decades' experience really shines. No matter who he talks to, he can turn chat with the most unresponsive partner into a moment of glorious repartee. Showbiz is an entertaining, sometimes uproarious evening punctuated by occasional flashbacks of the earlier, edgier Frank Skinner.
Frank Skinner: Showbiz is on tour until Saturday 15 February; seen at Edinburgh Festival Theatre.