Last year, Frank Skinner had the honour of appearing on The List’s cover. The next week he won the Perrier Award and now, over-burdened with gratitude, he reveals nine deep, dark secrets to Philip Parr.
Nastiest disease ever contracted
I had chicken pox when I was fifteen which is very late to get chicken pox. It formed these little blisters all over me which looked like the cock-pits from Airfix aeroplanes — except they haven‘t got the pilot in them. obviously.
Favourite rude word
Arse. You don’t know how good a word it is until you hear Americans call it ’ass’. Then you realise that arse is a perfectly formed word — it slips off the tongue - although saying ’arse slips off the tongue’ is probably a strange comment.
Favourite put-down line
I heard an American one which I think just confused most of the audience. This bloke said, ‘So that‘s
wit" 3' M ls "‘
what they mean by 2.4 children’. What I presume he meant was that the heckler was the .4. but I thought it was incredibly clever. My favourite is ‘some comedians use a plant in the audience but I like to use a vegetable‘. I remember writing that and thinking no one had ever thought ofit before. But I used it and somebody said ’God. Max Miller used that one.‘
Favourite canned vegetable
Ian Brady (and, yes, Frank did come up with that instantly!)
First sexual experience
I was about twelve and it was a particularly passionate French kiss and a bit ofa fondle behind the bike-sheds. Ofcourse. when they found out. the caretaker was sacked, but he was a nice man in many ways. What do you like about Birmingham? They have the best fish and chip shops in Britain. And balti, it‘s a
Kashmiri dish — they sell it in one of these meals for nine for about eight quid and serve it in a big wok with nan bread. It‘s brilliant.
Have you ever eaten dog lood?
I have. I‘ve eaten dog food and cat food in one session. I was a bit drunk. but I did it to prove that in fact they tasted perfectly OK and that it was a fallacy that they tasted horrible. because after all they were only canned meat. And they tasted like complete puke. both equally horrible. both disgusting. But if you’ve ever smelt a dog fart that shouldn‘t be any surprise.
Most oilended member oi the audience I was talking with this woman in the audience who looked like Cagney out of Cagney and Lacey and I said ’Where's the fat one‘?‘ and at that moment this woman who was collecting glasses and who was very fat walked across the front ofthe stage and before I could stop myselfl said ‘Oh. here she is.‘ And this woman actually bounded on stage and started thumping me. Quite a heckle.
Nicest/nastiest review you have ever
received. . [here‘s a magazme called Brum Beat
which said. ‘Frank Skinner is like a modern day Prometheus (sic) going boldly into the labyrinth to take on the half man-halfbullshit minotaur of mainstream comedy.‘ It‘s a classic isn‘t it? The nastiest would have been in Time Out because the guy in that sees me as the cause for the decline in alternative comedy — he
I said that I was ’a cause for despair.‘
mam- Likely Ladd '
Nepotism comer here. lconless all. I’ve known Alan Davies -the Assembly Rooms stand-up who claims to be the Love Child oi Alan Ladd -since he was a student. Or at least I knew him when he was a student. Then he was a mild-mannered, good-natured, unpretentious rising star oi the drama club. Several years on and he’s one oi the busiest stand-up comics on the London circuit, a regular on Charles Kennedy’s Connections on Radio Four and the winner at Time Dut’s Best Young Comic oi 1991 award. This, plus coverage In The Face, a handtul ot TV appearances and a headline slot at the Brighton Festival.
When I met up with him again at a Counting House gig earlierthls year, he’s the same soitIy-spoken person I remember, but when he takes to the stage It’s clear that his tour-year stint oi non-stop wisecracking everywhere
trorn Whitstable Labour Club to the Edmonton Comedy Festival has paid oil. His is a polished yet spontaneous act, that mixes personal anecdote with small-time surrealism to hilarious etlect. ‘For me it’s quite importantthat my stage persona ls liked by the audience,’ says Davies, ‘because it’s a way into most oi what I talk about. There’s a grain ol truth in virtually everything.‘
Things like shopliltlng, horse-racing, knitting and, irankly, anything that
comes into his head when he takes to the stage. ‘I try to be diiterent from the others,’ he says. ‘And I try to keep the action on the stage and enact parts oi it ratherthan relate third person.’ Making his Fringe debut this year, he’ll be able to ireewheel through the best ol his old material while throwing in his latest routines - routines that he always works out betore an audience, improvising, relining and developing each night. ‘It’s basically a stand-up show,’ he explains, ‘but I’m trying to theme it and give It rounded corners. I try and keep out at the toilet as much as I can. I had this set at one time which had a routine about me in the toilet, ' another routine about my dad in the toilet and another routine about Margaret Thatcher in the toilet-I looked at the set and thought this is terrible: these are quite funny, but tor God’s sake, it’s cheap stuil.’ (Mark Fisher)
The Love Child ol Alan Ladd (Fringe) Alan Davies, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 24 Aug—5 Sept, 11.45pm, £6 (£5).
All the wine stores have shut up shop, so Philip Parr looks around tor some late-night entertainment instead.
I Lily Savage: The Return No cloying coyness, just bang on the knuckle. or near to it anyway, comedy from the drag artist all the others must kneel before (so to speak).
Lily Savage: The Return (Fringe) Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428. until5 Sept (not25, 1), 11.30pm, £6.50/£7.50 (£5/£6).
\\ ‘\ I \ t
I Savages Christopher Hampton‘s rainforest exploitation play receives an energetic and inspired interpretation from a young company directed by Fringe faves Volcano Theatre.
Savages (Fringe) Frantic Theatre Company, St Columba ’s by the Castle (Venue 4) 225 7993, until 29 Aug, 10.15pm, £4 (£3.50).
I Mike McDonald Mild-mannered, amiable Canadian who doesn‘t tell
jokes. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but is, in fact, one of the best
comedy nights you‘ll find in
My House My Rules (Fringe) Mike McDonald, Assembly (Venue 3) 226
2428, until5 Sept, midnight, £6/£7 (£5/£6).
I Night For Nicaragua Eight comics (among them Izzard, Steel and Green) are given the opportunity to perform large chunks of their acts. And you can see it all for less than the price of a single Assembly Rooms ticket.
Stand Up For Nicaragua (Fringe) Various, Edinburgh Playhouse (Venue 59) 071 272 9619, 27Aug. 11pm, £5.50.
I Corky and the Juice Pigs l challenge anyone to see this crowd and not go home singing, ‘The pandas must die‘. Confused? Offended'? You‘ll be too busy laughing to be either. Watch out Doug Anthony, they‘re gaining on you!
Zuberaree (Fringe) Corky and the Juice Pigs, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, anti/5 Sept, 11.30pm. £5.50 (£4.50).
50 The List 21 - 27 August 1992