Why stand-up suits honest comic Frank

Frank Skinner
Frank Skinner
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If you’ve tickets to see Frank Skinner in stand-up action tonight, then you’re one of the lucky few.

Skinner, who has been one of Britain’s favourite comedians for the last two decades, is embarking on his first stand-up tour in seven years.

And he’s coming pretty close to Blackpool – playing tonight and tomorrow at Preston’s Guild Hall.

The host of BBC’s comedy panel show Room 101 and a Sony Award winning Absolute Radio show with 600,000 listeners (and more than 13 million downloads as a podcast), Skinner’s new stand-up show is called Man In A Suit.

And he’s looking forward to getting on stage.

“Live stand-up is so different from other stuff. I like the sense that it’s not being recorded,” he says.

“Even when you come to record your DVD, no matter how much you fight it, you feel that you’re wearing a slightly smaller suit.

“It feels a lot more restrained.

“I love interacting with the audience. When it goes well, suddenly I feel like I’m part of the audience. That’s very exhilarating.

“Last week a woman in the front row had an American accent, and I asked if she was from the US. She replied, ‘No, I’m from Iraq’.

“I’d made the wrong-est guess anyone’s ever made – but the audience laughed for at least a minute.

“Those moments are very precious, because they’re not repeatable.”

What makes Skinner’s live work so special is its unalloyed candour.

As he ranges over subjects as varied as relationships, religion, rows with your partner, salty popcorn and Prince Charles, he delivers his material with an admirable sense of honesty.

This makes sense from a comedian whose first autobiography was called Frank.

“Honesty is vital,” reflects the 57-year-old.

“Everything I do is autobiographical. When I’ve strayed from that and tried to write a novel in the third person or sitcoms, they have not been great.

“I’m essentially an autobiographical writer.”

Skinner adds: “I’m never good at playing a version of myself.

“I like being me and reflecting where I am at that time.”

You can have a bash at getting last-minute tickets for Skinner’s Preston shows, priced £27.50, at www.prestonguildhall.com