Glumness settles on a large part of the nation whenever the subject of comedy comes up now. The lockdown has led to a more frenetic search for entertainment, and the current state of humour hasn't wanted for critics. This week, Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson, 80, said it was dire, and listed several comedians, adding: "They should be done under the Trade Description Act." I sympathised with his assessment, while also feeling there were a few comedians today who are as fine as any of previous generations.Robert McNeil, The Herald, 9th May 2020
He's the celebrated Scottish comedian who's written a column for The Sun and articles for The Guardian. Now Frankie Boyle has been accused of "hypocrisy" after calling on his 2.7 million Twitter followers to stop buying newspapers.Jasper Hamill, The Herald, 28th April 2020
Wit and four-letter artistry have made Glasgow a comedy stronghold - and with the clubs shut, the laughs are going online.Rachael Healy, The Guardian, 19th April 2020
Unfortunately, it comes with the territory. Any comedian courageous enough to step onto the stage - whether it is in a 20,000 seater arena or in a dank pub basement - has to be well-equipped to deal with hecklers. However, be warned, disruptive outbursts from marble-mouthed louts will never be tolerated at the Caird Hall.Ciaran Shanks, Dundee Telegraph, 11th April 2020
Frankie travels from his home town of Glasgow to the seaside town of Ayr. He drops in on his old martial arts club for a training session with Tommy Carruthers, "the man who turned being Glaswegian into a martial art", and meets former "Glasgow Girl" campaigner Amal Azzudin.Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 21st February 2020
If you thought Frankie Boyle's four-part jaunt around Scotland was just another comic dropping off the mousewheel for a freebie, think again; apart from anything else, Mr Boyle is there well before you and does all those gags but better. And it is a severely different beast to so many travelogues, in that it includes genuine understated humour, mainly through the voiceovered asides: your ears blink in a disbelieving, did-he-just-say-that? manner. Within five minutes he meets a hermit "who's chosen to live alone amid the shallow graves of the dense forests of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire", and delighted hermit Jake by describing his caravan-in-a-treehouse as both "a kind of low-level Scottish Dignitas" and "this is where I'd like to come if I was in witness protection", while gently mocking the vogue for "living in the moment". "What, like a heroin addict, or a dog?"
Boyle quite likes the long-established eco-community of Findhorn, "which has its own currency and, sadly, its own theatre", and notes, driving down Glencoe - "like me it has a rugged and a dramatic beauty, and we've both caused several ramblers to go missing" - that Jimmy Savile once had a home here. I can never quite look that savage glen straight in the eyes again. "Here he would entertain such luminaries as his friend Margaret Thatcher and the demon Adrammelech, ancient Assyrian commander of hell."
A few decades earlier it fell to another comedian, Billy Connolly, to pithily rip off the carapaces of many aspects of his own country, exposing coy kailyard sentimentality and sectarianism for the ludicrosities they were. Boyle is doing an equally smack-up job of explaining the confusions of a small-sprawled nation to ourselves, in the fraught and twitchy 2020s, while knitting in just enough aspects of history and politics, such as Robert the Bruce's drive for independence - "700 years before Nicola Sturgeon took up his mantle. And his haircut" - to keep it all urgently relevant. I'd urge anyone watching south of the border to revel in it. You might learn something; if little else, then to relish the high concept of tinder-dry, mournful glee.Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 9th February 2020
Acerbic comic proves the perfect guide for an off-kilter road trip.Jeff Robson, i Newspaper, 7th February 2020