Frankie Boyle at Portsmouth Guildhall

The Vaults, Albert Road, Southsea.

DISH DETECTIVE: Hit the Vaults in daylight and a totally different pub emerges

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It was predictable that comedy bad-boy Frankie would home in on the sickest possible subject for a joke in Portsmouth this week.

Sure enough, barely ten minutes in, there it was: the torso on the beach. Not one gag but four, including an insult to a heckler.

Boyle, newly clean-shaven, knows no taboos, and he won not only laughter, but applause from an audience of consenting adults in a 75-minute set.

I approached with the same trepidation that might preface a bungee jump or a roller-coaster ride. And the quick-fire onslaught of profanity and bad taste produced a similar kind of adrenaline rush. I too was laughing at the danger; the absence of all boundaries of acceptability.

So Frankie blithely discussed rape, murder, Princess Diana, the Holocaust, paedophiles and Barclays boss Bob Diamond to merciless effect.

Frankie occupies an extreme end of the comedy spectrum. Nobody who didn’t appreciate that would have bought a ticket. Thousands did.

And he has the last laugh. As he said: ‘Nobody could ever hate me half as much as I don’t care’.