Tramadol Nights Review


The pre-broadcast warning said it all,“Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights contains very strong language and uncompromising content which may cause serious offence”. Mr Boyle is not for the easily offended. Most viewers will have already known this from his stint on ‘Mock the Week’ where, lets just say he divided opinion. Boyle is the comedian who says what you might think but dare not say, and far worse. He quit his regular post on Mock the Week last year, saying he was fed up fighting with the other comedians to get his jokes in. This is his opportunity to show what he can do on his own.
The program begins with Boyle in familiar territory doing a stand up routine in front of a live audience. It is trademark Frankie, cutting and always verging on the ultra-offensive. It takes a brave person to sit in the front row at one of his shows, as several members of the audience immediately found out. One woman was told she looked like Boy George in a chemotherapy wig, another man accused of being a child killer. Several thousand Michael McIntyre fans hoping for half an hours jocular observational comedy immediately switch over.
Tramadol Nights is more than just a showcase for Boyle’s stand up ability. It is for the most part a sketch show. This is new territory for the comedian and it was interesting to discover how his style would translate to the format. For me it was with mixed results. As with all sketch shows the quality varies, some funny bits, some not so. The surreal elements were enjoyable in particular the use of cartoons but watching Boyle playing a character turned out to be strangely uncomfortable viewing, maybe because I’m so used to him playing himself.
Frankie Boyle could be described as a fairly one-dimensional comedian, his talent is in ‘taking the piss’. There is little in the way of observational comedy or storytelling in his live act, or in this show. But I suppose every comic has their own style and the truth is Boyle is brilliant at what he does. Existing fans will enjoy Tramadol Nights but I doubt it will win him any new ones.

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About haighsimpson

25 year old journalism student at leeds metropolitan university View all posts by haighsimpson

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