Frank Skinner: Manchester Academy, Manchester 1990
The Frank Skinner Show: (TV Recording) ITV Studios, London, 2003
Frank Skinner: Stand Up: Hammersmith Apollo, London, 2007
Frank Skinner’s Credit Crunch Cabaret: Lyric Theatre, London (3 shows) and Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh (1 show), 2009
Frank Skinner and Friends: Noel Coward Theatre, London, 2012
Frank Skinner: Man In A Suit: Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 2014
Angel Comedy: The Bill Murray pub, London, 2018
Frank Skinner Live: Assembly, George Square, Edinburgh, 2019
Frank Skinner: 30 Years of Dirt (Work in Progress): Angel Comedy at The Bill Murray, London, 2023
Frank Skinner: 30 Years of Dirt: Edinburgh Fringe 2023, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh, 2023
Frank Skinner is one of the most easy-going, naturally funny modern comedians. I first saw him at the Manchester Academy in 1990 when the act was very raw, very rude and very funny. He seemed not to care who he offended back then and was very popular with the student crowd. Over the years, the act has mellowed and as a result he has gained a wider appeal.
One day in the late nineties, I was walking through Central London with a good friend and I saw Frank Skinner walk past us. I pointed him out to my friend so he shouted out ‘Frank!’ and gave a solid wave. Skinner (like me) seemed surprised but turned around and waved back before sharply moving away.
In 2003, when Skinner achieved fame on television, I attended a TV recording of The Frank Skinner Show. The show was a mixture of stand-up comedy and interviewing celebrities. The recording took place on a Sunday afternoon and free bottles of wine were on tables for the audience to drink before the recording started. It was the only time I have started a comedy show laughing loudly and ended up asleep in the audience seat!
Skinner went back to his roots in 2007 when his live tour Frank Skinner: Stand Up was another sell-out tour with his trademark wicked sense of humour. He was clearly enjoying himself and delighted to be back on stage delivering his no-holds barred comic routines.
In 2009, Skinner embarked on a project called Credit Crunch Cabaret. This was a series of live comedy shows with Skinner as MC introducing three lesser-known comedy acts for them to gain recognition. Tickets for the shows were sold at a cut-down price and therefore they sold out very quickly. I managed to see three different showcases at the Lyric Theatre in the West End of London and they were all excellent. The shows proved very popular and so a further run at the Edinburgh Festival that year was announced, and I saw the show with more new acts at the Fringe as well as a further Frank Skinner and Friends show in 2012.
Man In A Suit, Skinner’s first tour for seven years saw him wondering how he was fixed into the comic scene of 2014. I sat in this audience and silently counted how many times I had seen the great man live and then he appeared on stage older, wiser, and funnier. There were still filthy routines her and there, but this show was more sophisticated and all the funnier for it.
Skinner returned to stand-up with a work-in-progress show at the Bill Murray pub in London for Angel Comedy in December 2018. One of the most easy-going and confident performers I have ever seen, Skinner makes telling funny stories look easy and often varied from what he planned to say to chat to the audience. As ever he was warm, chatty, self-depreciating with plenty of one-liners and stories about parenthood and ageing.
I went to see Frank Skinner’s new stand-up show Showbiz at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2019. At the age of 62, Skinner looking very dapper strolled onto the stage and effortlessly created a brilliant hour of stand-up usually delivered by comedians half his age. The cheekiness in delivery, the very near-the-knuckle routines of the experienced while and about to embark on a new tour Showbiz, Skinner proved he is one of the greats, a first-class act and a brilliant comedian.
I watched his new solo work-in-progress show 30 Years of Dirt, for Angel Comedy at The Bill Murray pub in London in March 2023. As I sat in the front row, he asked me if I could drive. I replied that I haven’t driven for thirty years but if I asked the Council where I worked, I’m sure they would give me a parking space. He suggested I buy a Persian rug, lay it out in the parking space and lie on it!
I saw the full finished show of 30 Years of Dirt at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2023. Exceptionally fast-witted with his crowd-work, he made the art of making an audience belly laugh look easy. After the show, he was walking out of the theatre, and this was a golden opportunity to finally meet the great man. I went up to say hello and tentatively asked if we could have a photograph, please, as I was a big fan. ‘Thank god, of course’, he said, ‘I though you were going to ask for a refund!’. Genius.
Skinner is one of the best off-the-cuff comedians and he remains one of the UK’s most popular funny men. I am very lucky to have been able to see the master comic so many times on stage over the years.