Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Frankie Boyle's Tramadol NIghts (Channel 4)

Frankie Boyle was by far the best thing on Mock The Week and the live show I saw a couple of years ago was excellent so I was looking forward to his first solo TV show. Boy was I disappointed. Not because it didn't quite live up to the expectation I had of it, but because it was plain terrible.

It started OK with a stand up section to start, but having only around 5 minutes meant there was no structure to the comedy and instead it was just a series of "dark" jokes. On Mock The Week when contrasted against lighter comics and across a 90 minute show where the level of darkness can rise and fall this worked brilliantly. When strung together fast and unrelelnting almost everything good about Frankie Boyle vanishes and he just comes across as cruel and vulgar.

Yet the 3 stand-up sections were the undeniable highlight compared to the woeful series of sketches that filled out the rest of the show. One sketch was a funny idea done badly and the first installment of George Michael's Highway Code would have been funny if it had just been "mirror, signal, wank, crash, wank" instead of going on. Other than those two none of the sketches were anything better than utter dross. Crude ideas executed very amateurishly. Whoever shot and directed the sketches should never work in TV again as they looked cheaper than the sketches off that cheap sketch show that Michael Marshall Smith appeared on (I can't remember the name of it but hopefully someone (Al?) might). Thing is, that was very cheap while this is Frankie Boyle in a prime Channel 4 comedy slot and will have a budget.

Overall an unmitigated disaster that can't be fixed until a second series it doesn't deserve. So bad I genuinely mean this final sentence. Much worse than The X Factor!


  1. Cheap sketch show ft MMS = Dare To Believe. I dared, nothing happened though.

  2. oooh harsh review. But fair. I don't know why comedians get tempted into the sketch show trap. They probably think it's easy. I've been rewatching some old a bit of Fry and Lawrie, and that still stands up very well. But then, they were never stand ups.

    Also see Stewart Lee's recent series with good stand up and shit sketches.

  3. And Russell Howard's Good News.

    I don't know why sketches always look so cheap and amateurish. Every comedy short I've made has looked like it's budget is 10 times more than any sketch in Boyle's show, yet none of mine have cost anything.

    Boyle's show is so much worse than Stewart Lee's (which was ace) and Russell Howard's (which is OK) because there's nothing except controversy baiting material and it gets tired almost immediately. It's almost as if he got eased out of Mock The Week for being too controversial and then thought "well fuck you, I'll go to Channel 4 and show you what REAL dark, controversial comedy is and be hailed a genius". Mock The Week has the last laugh. While it's not as good as it was it isn't offensively awful.

  4. Ghastly. I thought it was mere hyperbole, but no - I would actually rather sit down and watch the X Factor.

  5. I hadn't realised there was new sort-of-series of Partridge online http://www.fostersfunny.co.uk/alanpartridge/

    Very good. Cats. Hammers.

  6. The second episode was slightly better as the stand-up was stronger and Boyle wasn't in all the sketches, but it still wasn't up to much.