Frank Skinner is a comedy veteran, and at the age of 66 he couldn’t be blamed for eschewing the intensity of an Edinburgh Fringe run. However, instead of putting on his metaphorical comedy slippers, its clear that he still loves performing. More than three decades since lifting the 1991 Perrier award for best comedy show, Skinner is back with his newest offering – ’30 Years of Dirt’.
Within seconds he’s warming the audience up with a lot of self-deprecating humour, poking as much fun at himself as others. The show feels personal, and intimate– no mean feat given the size of the venue. Frank chats conversationally, as if the material is just popping into his head (Of course some of it really is, which makes it all the more impressive!). Relaxed and exquisitely-paced, this is a true master at work. He is a consummate raconteur, deftly and seamlessly weaving together seemingly unrelated anecdotes. Front row attendees should however beware – there is a fair amount of audience interaction, but this keeps every performance truly unique and exemplifies Skinner’s wit and adaptability. The joshing is above all good-natured.
Whilst his original idea for the show was clean comedy, Skinner still delights in smutty jokes and puerile humour and as the hour progresses, the nob joke genie starts to take-over. Nevertheless, its testament to his comic ability that the clean jokes are just as funny and this is a guaranteed hour of almost constant laughter.
There are a fair number of reflective anecdotes; good-natured piss-taking on woke culture, observations on the changing nature of stand-up and some amusing stories of Skinner’s early life in the West Midlands of the 1970s. Whilst still funny, there is a certain poignancy to these; perhaps unsaid references to time passing.
Skinner seems more mellow, laidback and reflective than his younger self, but this gives the show a depth that is not often found in contemporary stand-up. As a comic he is still up there and this is stand-up at its very best.
’30 Years of Dirt’ runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at Assembly George Square – Gordon Aikman Theatre at 20:50