Francis Martin Patrick "Frankie" Boyle (born 16 August 1972) is a Scottish comedian and writer known predominantly for his cynical and very dark material. The Glaswegian's uncompromising humour has gained him many loyal fans and the constant fury of the Moral Guardians. It goes without saying that if you're easily offended, and aren't aware of who Frankie Boyle is, it's best to move on and forget this page ever existed.
Whilst he got his first big break at The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh, Boyle reached a mainstream audience due to his appearance as a regular on Mock the Week. Described as the "dark heart of Mock the Week" by host Dara Ó Briain, he quickly became the most popular member of the panel show. However, his risqué jokes soon caused friction with the production team and The BBC Trust. Eventually, Boyle decided he had enough and left the show permanently toward the end of 2009, claiming that the higher-ups were too scared of "frightening the horses".
His career hit a speedbump in November 2010, Channel 4 released his new sketch show, Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights, which included a joke involving Katie Price's disabled son Harvey. This caused an extreme wave of controversynote , despite the fact that he told the same joke during his 2010 stand up tour (with the DVD being widely available at the time). While Boyle didn't withdraw from public life completely, he announced that his latest stand-up tour The Last Days of Sodom would be his last as he wants to spend more time with his family and is tired of touring.
Boyle eventually made a return to touring and television in 2012. He hosted a special for Channel Four entitled The Boyle Variety Show, which was a mixture of Frankie doing stand up and several other acts including comedians and musical performances in the style of a Royal Variety Show. While it was generally well received, Boyle managed to stir up more controversy with a series of jokes about the 2012 Paralympics (Which Channel Four has exclusive broadcasting rights to) on his Twitter account. He ended up staying away from Channel 4 for an entire decade before returning to present a documentary in 2022,note followed by competing on the fifteenth series of Taskmaster the following year.
The upswell in political conservatism around the world, along with the increasingly-unsettled context of British and European politics (particularly the lead-up to the 2015 Scottish referendum, the 2016 "Brexit" vote and the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency) gave Boyle fresh opportunities to build a new audience. With the global situation becoming a well-spring of satire, his hard-left stance on many issues struck a chord with the public and this brought him back to The BBC (first in the Autopsy iPlayer specials and then BBC Two via Frankie Boyle's New World Order plus some documentaries).
- Arch-Nemesis: Intentional or otherwise, Frankie seems to have primary targets amongst other comedians (and have periodically poked/mocked at in his sets):
- Michael McIntyre, for his very safe, suburban, and borderline-offensively banal content;
- James Corden, for much the same allegations of pompousness/insincerity that he gets on both sides of the Pond; and
- Ricky Gervais, for capitalizing on Frankie's current Berserk Buttons: being a Hollywood Atheist and transphobia.
- Boomerang Bigot: Played for Laughs. A great deal of his material is based around how violent/greedy/all-around horrible Scots are.
- Death Seeker:
- Where his TV career is concerned, at least. Given how much he manages to severely cause outrage amongst the tabloids and the moral guardians (As well as landing the TV companies themselves in hot water) one has to wonder about why he would repeatedly put himself in such a position of hatred. It's also arguably what led to his departure from Mock the Week, the cancellation of Tramadol Nights and most recently his Twitter jokes about the Paralympics which seem have put his relationship with Channel Four in serious jeopardy.. Some believe Frankie's desire to retire sooner rather than later has led to him trying to make sure that nobody will bother him to come back. He even referred to his recent Boyle Variety Show as his "Career suicide note" in an interview for a TV Guide included in British tabloid The Sun (For whom he is also a weekly columnist).
- In his autobiography My Shit Life So Far, Frankie makes it clear how much he learnt to loathe and despise most people involved in commissioning and production of television shows, especially the BBC. His experience was one of the performing talent working in opposition to the execs, with the TV suits being keen, above all, to avoid even the slightest whiff of career-breaking controversy or edge, often at the expense of any creative originality in the shows. Executive Meddling was something he learnt to loathe, and exercise of the Executive Veto happened frequently and drove him to the point where he was asking if it was worth the effort. Frankie tried to throw in lots of outrageous and deliberately offensive material when it was too late to edit it out, just to make the point.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- In Room 101, he criticised celebrity atheists for being judgemental towards religion and mocking people who believe in a higher power. Frankie says that he would never undermine something that provides hope to people and helps them something to "get through the day". He also says that religion has helped a lot of peoplenote and don't deserve to be belittled by the likes of Ricky Gervais.
- Transphobia is something he won't stoop to. When Ricky Gervais made an entire stand-up set about how he should start identifying as a chimpanzee now that "people can identify as whatever they want", Frankie called him out for picking on trans people instead of writing any actual jokes.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When asked by his daughter, "Daddy, what's the best thing in the world?" he didn't have to think twice before answering "You are, sweetheart. You're the best thing in the world." To which she replied, "For me it's sausages."
- Freudian Excuse: He said at the end of one of his stand-up DVDs that the reason he is "like what he's like" is because his grandad made him have sex with a "mermaid" as a child while he watched, when "the old bastard" was dead, he went back to the attic to where the mermaid was kept and found that it was a dead monkey with its legs sewn together.Frankie Boyle: You remind me of that monkey, Johnny.
- Hidden Depths: While it's clear he's VERY cynical and generally going for the darkest possible facet of comedy, when he's been sat down to talk about real life issues, particularly regarding Scotland, he's a very articulate and respectful person.
- Humans Are Bastards: His work holds a very cynical outlook on people and society as a whole. A frequent source of his material is the latest horror someone has inflicted on the world.
- Hypocritical Humor: Often points it out in people who give him criticism about certain things he believes in.
- Insult Backfire: When someone mentioned his likeness to one of The Proclaimers.Frankie Boyle: "Someone told me I look like one of the Proclaimers. One of them?! They’re twins, you daft bastard!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The "jerk" part doesn't need explaining considering what pretty much everything on this page says about him (to drive the point further home, the names of his live shows include "I Would Happily Punch Every One Of You In The Face" and "Morons, I Can Heal You"). However, to quote Wikipedia, he "said that the situation in Palestine "seems to be, in essence, apartheid", concluding that he had reached this position after watching a documentary about life in Palestine that had made him cry". There's also the below quote.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Well, to a degree. His stage persona is very dark, but off-stage he's reportedly very pleasant and charming.
- N-Word Privileges: A Scotsman whose favorite target is Scotland.
- Invoked in one show where a black guest uses the term, and Frankie remembers a (white) guy telling him "you can't ever use the word nigger for any reason." "You've just used it." And, answering exactly the way Frankie hoped he would, "No I didn't."
- Panel Game: He made appearances on several, such as 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, Argumental, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and You Have Been Watching.
- Playing Against Type: Sort of — for someone who is known for very dark, cynical, satirical humour, appearing on the generally light-hearted and oddball Taskmaster was not an immediately obvious move. This was lampshaded by him in one interview, when he noted that when watching some of the show for research his own daughter expressed skepticism that he'd be on the show on the grounds that "You're not jolly!"
- The Quisling: Invoked in the Mock the Week Christmas Special, where Dara showed a picture drawn by an 11-year-old, depicting the studio being invaded by Daleks... and Frankie as their leader! Frankie's only reaction was to angrily inform Dara that he was the Daleks's creator, not just their leader.
- Refuge in Audacity: More like a second home, really. Summed up with this from DaraDara Ó Briain: "There's a line in the sand, right, and you can't even see the line in the sand. You're actually out of sand into, like, tropical tundra regions."
- Screwed by the Network: Frankie was less than pleased when the very first episode of his new TV series Frankie Boyle's New World Order, billed as a satirical and acid commentary on the previous week's news, went out. Unknown to him, Executive Meddling had severely edited the broadcast show to make it look as if he was tamely approving of the BBC's editorial news line and sympathetic to government whilst hostile to the opposing Labour Party. A barrage of criticism followed from fans who were asking him when he'd been bought by the establishment, and whether selling out had been the price he paid for getting a TV show. Frankie pointed out, among other things, that he had not been responsible for the way the show had been edited and he had no knowledge of how it had been edited - he said the original recording session had been a lot longer and the true, acid-cynical, Frankie Boyle had been present both in comment and in humour - not that you'd have known it from the edit. People in the studio audience confirmed this and said the tame broadcast edition was not the show they'd attended.
- Self-Deprecation: He's about as kind to himself as he is to his other targets. A fact that's often forgotten by his critics.
- The Teetotaler: Regularly describes himself as a teetotal alcoholic.
- Token Evil Team Mate: The comedy equivalent on Mock the Week, and any other panel show he appears on.
- Violent Glaswegian:
- On a BBC travelogue show where he was tasked with making sense of Russia for British people, Frankie spent time with the Cossacks. His hosts demonstrated their sword-skills to him, and gave the impression that they'd be very surprised if any non-Cossack, let alone a non-Russian, would even know which end to hold a sabre by. Allowed to try and replicate one of their feats of swordsmanship, with the expectation he would prove to be amusingly inept at it, Frankie took a swing and managed it first go. Then a second time on the backswing. As he said afterwards, he was aware he'd just completely failed to dispel a lingering cultural prejudice concerning Scotsmen with sharp blades.
- On his appearance on Would I Lie to You?, Lee Mack made a quip about him with a six-pack of lager and a knife, to which Frankie took exception... to suggesting that he'd have a six-pack, as he's a teetotaller. Lee, naturally, was very amused that he said nothing about the knife.
- When He Smiles: He has quite a charming smile for someone so cynical.