Monday 23 January 2012

Skinner’s a Rake

I’ve mentioned Frank Skinner a few times recently. I am continuing this odyssey.

At the moment I am,

  • Reading Skinner’s On The Road. This is Frank’s diary of his 2008 return to stand-up after a long hiatus. It’s surprisingly dark at times – and this is in comparison to his autobiography, Frank Skinner , which – apart from doing very well not to be called ‘Bring Frank’ – dealt with, amongst other things, his alcoholism and failed marriage and periods of depression that entangled itself with both of those things. It was done with a great amount of humour at all times. Not that there is no humour in On The Road. It has lots of funny bits, but it doesn’t mind getting dark and exploring the (large amount of) self-doubt Frank went through when he embarked the tour. It isn’t ruining the joy of reading about the experience but it’s lingering there always. The tears of a clown etc.
  • Listening to Skinner’s Absolute Radio podcasts. Having discovered the shear joy of this podcast (or radio show if you’re weird and old fashioned and listen to it when it goes out on radio) I am listening to the bi-weekly releases as they come out AND listening to the back catalogue from the other end, which is about a year ago on iTunes. This isn’t helping with my sense of linear time when combined with reading a book based on Frank’s life four years ago. I am constructing my very own, weird, skewed (and not really similar) at all version of The Time Traveller’s Wife with me as the stuck-in-linear time character and Frank Skinner as the time travelling observational and crude narrator.
  • Just watched the first episode of the Skinner-hosted reboot of Room 101. They’ve re-jigged it a bit, now having three people competing to get things in as opposed to the ‘solo’ version where one person, alone (that’s what solo means) tried to get objects past Nick Hancok, or later Paul Merson. The new version works just as well and of course adds to my Frank Skinner-fest. Highlight of episode one was Fern Britton complaining that science-FICTION was all made up.

As you can see it is quite the little Skinner Fest. He is everywhere I turn – and funny. It is like the mid-90s all over again; once again I have returned to the source of my joy for comfort. Bless you the mid-90s, bless you.

There is one drawback to the podcast (which I could have talked about earlier when I was talking about the podcast but I didn’t want the bullet point to drag on and on and look rubbish, like the Sherlock one in yesterday’s blog) and that is sometimes the co-hosts are a bit rubbish. Let me start by saying that one of his regular co-hosts, Emily Dean, is quite brilliant and it is the heights of those two gassing on which contrasts and thus highlights the paucity of the comic contributions of other presenters. Alun Cochrane isn’t bad as the other regular, but he is no Skinner or Dean.

I listened to one where Steve Williams, a Welsh comedian, stood in for ‘The Cockerel’ (Cochrane) and he just got in the way of the Dean-Skinner banter. There were lots of examples but the one that stuck in my head was when Skinner revealed that, medically speaking, the right and left nostrils had different names. Williams was outraged, saying it was pointless. Why would that be pointless? WHY? Of course Skinner revealed a few minutes later that he had made it up, the lying Brummie shit. So, the one stand out moment of annoying behaviour I recall to tell you, by Williams, was actually a reasonable outrage. Still, though, why would it be so mad? It seems so feasible to me that I am still annoyed that he was outraged by the concept.

Anyway, he stepped all over some other gags and made several observations that I didn’t find funny. Though it wasn’t a double-act, there were three of them, it reminded me of double-acts where I have to suffer one of the duo because I like the other one so much. The leading example of this is Andrew Collins in the, now defunct, podcast double-act he had with comedy king Richard Herring. I got to the point of stopping listening several times because Collins was pissing me of so much explaining the obvious unspoken punchlines/explanations Herring trusted the listener to get. I always crawled back, though. And now it is over.

Finding a double-act where you like both people is the best (revelation). That is why Lee and Herring are probably my favourite as despite both being brilliant in their own different ways they meshed as a great double act in the mid-to-late 90s (surprise). Frank Skinner, ahhhhh I have worked my way back to him – what great writing, nearly pulled it off with David Baddiel but it was never quite great. I have always been a big Baddiel fan despite not liking him greatly, something about him rubs me up the wrong way. Despite all this I thought he was great, though he and Skinner were actually a bit too similar – despite all the class and geographical differences – to be a great double-act, though they were pretty fine for a while back when.

I have no idea what this has all been about. Sorry. I just had nothing to say about today. Sorry.

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