Frank Skinner is like a box of Milk Tray: no longer the height of fashion, and nor is he trying to be, but safely delicious and varied enough. In the context of his age, class and culture demographic (i.e, a lot of people trust him from the telly while they don’t go in for the arts at large) he is, at moments, fairly radical.
For example, he casually informs his audience about the gay sex act of daisy-chaining, without any apparent judgement, with the punchline being about modern technology. This stuff is precious, for the audience appears largely white, middle-aged or elderly, and straight – people who need a national treasure like Frank to hold their hands as he pushes their boundaries that little bit.
Most of the humour is safe and domestic-feeling, like a mosey about town with a friend who’s just wiser and funnier than most. Sure there are hints of sexism – for example a joke about Mariah Carey where the punchline wasn’t funny enough to justify the judgement – but if this is a little rankling, it’s balanced out by charm and self-effacement.
As a working-class talent able to joke about his wealth, and as a straight guy comfortable professing his low sex drive, Skinner remains a treasured asset: get your middle-aged relatives to invest in an hour with him, and even if they learn nothing they’ll ruddy enjoys themselves.
Playing 9pm at Assembly George Square 12 – 18 August 2019.