If there is a finer live comedian than Frank Skinner currently at work in this country, then I have yet to see him (or her).
So it is with great excitement that we welcome him back for his first major national tour in seven years. He is hitting the road this spring with a big tour of his coruscating new show, Man in a Suit. And he just can’t wait!
Frank has had an immensely successful broadcasting career ranging from The Frank Skinner Show and Fantasy Football League in the 1990s to today’s Room 101 (which is currently in its third series for BBC1), and his Sony Award-winning Absolute Radio show, which commands 600,000 listeners every week and has had more than 13 million downloads as a podcast.
But it is as a stand-up comedian where he feels most at home. The live arena gives full rein to Frank’s spontaneous wit. It allows him two hours to demonstrate how he cannot help but be funny. He is one of Nature’s most effortlessly hilarious people.
The critics agree. For instance, The Scotsman says that, “This is a terrific, feel-good show…He can still do it, old Frank. He is warm, relaxed, down-to-earth and properly funny…It is hilarious stuff. Skinner’s delivery is so gentle, so friendly, that there is no sense of the judgmental, of ridiculing. And that actually makes it much funnier. This is the work of a seriously skilled stand-up”.
The great thing is, Frank is equally funny in person. An hour-long interview with him is like being treated to a command performance – to an audience of one.
“It is a delightful experience spending time in his company, and you emerge at the end of it feeling upbeat and uplifted.
Frank, who has over the years won numerous awards for his stand-up, including the prestigious Perrier Award in 1991, begins by underlining how much he is looking forward to returning to the stage. “It’s so different from other stuff. I like the sense that it’s not being recorded. Even when you come to record your DVD, no matter how much you fight it, you feel that you’re wearing a slightly smaller suit. It feels a lot more restrained.
“So much stuff is recorded these days. Small stand-up clubs will often have a camera at the back of the room, and you never know where the footage will end up. In the end, memories will be completely closed down. YouTube has already totally killed the anecdote. It provides anecdotes for the illiterate: ‘Here’s a funny thing – look at this!’”
Frank closes by returning to the subject of how much is looking forward to performing live once more with Man in a Suit. “I’ve always had the showing off gene. I see it now in my son. The other day he did an impression of me doing the impression of Louis Armstrong, and I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder! So on stage I want to show off. If the audience are laughing, I want to make them laugh even more. Above all, I really care about the audience having a very good time indeed.”