“I Hope You Get Cancer” – Frankie Boyle Live at New Theatre Oxford

WARNING: This post contains adult themes and explicit language

Now, let me start by stating the obvious, I don’t want anyone to get Cancer! But it certainly got your attention didn’t it? It also maybe gave you an indication of how “inappropriate” some of the content in this post may be. So if jokes about Cancer or AIDS or Pedophilia aren’t your bag, do us both a favour… Don’t read on… Because this review-of-sorts of Frankie Boyle’s ‘Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved‘ tour may not be for you…

Frankie Boyle, even at his most polite, isn’t a “family friendly” comic. This is a man who was banned by the BBC because he once said on stage “I thought the only way they’d let me back on the BBC was if I shagged a child” But despite not being as mass-marketable like others in his line of work, such as Michael McIntyre or John Bishop, Boyle is still very popular – A fact that was made very evident by the fact that despite being extremely politically incorrect, he sold out his show in Oxford. Even if it meant fans driving down from London or Redding or god knows where else, as many had seemed to have done.

The Opening Act

The first act of the evening was a short set by 40-something Canadian-born comic from Devon, Craig Campbell, who looked like a giant mountain man wearing skater boy gear… Think Sean Walsh dressed like any douche-bad dot-com millionaire on a US TV sitcom.

Loud and a tad crass, Campbell was probably just the right guy to get people in the mood for the brand of comedy to come. Though, compared to Frankie Boyle, he was quite a gentleman… With his jokes about “yanking it” so hard that he tore the skin off his penis and a date once ending with a girl puking a combination of “vodka, orange juice, and my own jism” into his face.

That and the fact that he shed like an English Sheepdog are probably what I’ll remember most about him. I don’t know if I could sit through a full set, but in the small dose that we got, Campbell was a very good laugh.

The Main Event

Frankie Boyle was even more amazingly awful, more gloriously vicious than I thought he would be! And it truly was a memorable night watching him live at the New Theatre Oxford

I’ve seen a couple of Boyle’s DVDs before… And I remember spitting out my share of drinks because of his comments on Mock the Week… But I still wasn’t quite prepared for just how mean Frankie Boyle can be! I mean don’t get me wrong… He was SO funny! But SOOO mean!

I was expecting to see Boyle with his hipster/lumberjack beard, and was a bit taken aback when he strode onto stage sans beard, which, combined with the shaved head gave him a vague “skin-head” look (Though I don’t I’ve ever seen a skinhead in a blue suit) The other very apparent thing was the fact that he had put on some weight. It almost looked he was wearing a fat-suit from certain angles… Enough it seems to make one person in the front row yell out “When’s it due?” But more on the latter’s ritualistic disembowelling in a bit…

Credit where it is due, Boyle’s opening volleys were directed against none other than himself. I was in stitches when he commented, “Women now look at my body like Pensioners look at snow… To be honest, they’d both probably break your hip” Combined with his hilariously inappropriate laugh, poking fun at his own weight gain immediately got the audience on his side.

But the false sense of ease these opening jokes may have given some audience members was not to last long, as Frankie dove right into cussing out many members of the audience. I was already near tears within the first 15 minutes when he remarked “I had no idea there was so much scum in Oxford… What, did you all drive down from London?“… Oh and  remember “When’s it due” guy? Well he was met with what felt like a 5 minute barrage of Boyle calling him a “Cunt” whose greatest Christmas gift to his friends, family and the human race would be to kill himself! And the harsh words weren’t for the critics alone! A fan who hooted in praise for one of Boyle’s comments was told that he should get AIDS, then fall off the side of the Theatre, splashing other hooters with the spray of his “infected internal organs“.

Ouch! That does all sound rather vulgar and un-comical doesn’t it? Well frankly, outside of context, it is. It is downright awful. If I thought Frankie Boyle actually thought these things I would be appalled to even share the same air as him…. But of course, he doesn’t. And he didn’t have to say it multiple times on stage for me to know that. Its comedy. It’s what he does. Yes we can laugh without being mean. But we can challenge values and norms without being bad people.

In Boyle’s own words, if there is a place for inappropriate comedy, that’s where he attempts to take his audiences. Not because he really believes all the things he says, but because that space exists, and it should be explored. Because sometimes you have to push boundaries in order to see of you should cross them.

His brand of comedy is not for everyone (As was made immediately apparent to me as I attempted to recount some of the jokes from last night to my Girlfriend this morning). But if you think can laugh at yourself, and at others… If you enjoy pushing the limits of what can be funny… and if you enjoy someone ripping an audience member a new one! Then Boyle may be the comic for you. I certainly had a brilliant time, even if I was gasp-laughing half the time through my tears, just squealing to myself “He’s sooo mean. He’s sooo mean

If you want to catch him live, the good news is his tour continues in 2016. Go to FrankieBoyle.com and find a gig (lest he retires like he threatened to do and you miss the chance forever)

My only regret… The house lights were too bright for him to see the balding man in the 5th or 6th row dressed as an Elf! Oh my good god how glorious would that rant have been!


** Featured Image sourced from FrankieBoyleFans Facebook page


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