Francis Martin Patrick "Frankie" Boyle was born in Glasgow in 1972, and like fellow Scot Billy Connolly has one of those accents which is just naturally funny. Even when he's tearing into the land of his birth like a fox at a bin bag. Which is pretty much every day of his sardonic, witheringly funny life...
Frankie first achieved comic notoriety when he won the Daily Telegraph Open Mic award in 1996. A teeth-cutting tour of the comedy circuit followed, intertwined with some stints on Scottish radio. He then went on to write for TV, most notably for fellow taboo-crusher Jimmy Carr and his Distraction, and for 8 out of 10 Cats, where he also appeared as a panellist.
Frankie's star really ascended when he bagged a regular spot on Mock the Week. His cruel but perfectly constructed gags on politicians, celebrities, Kerry Katonas and society as a whole went down well on the show, giving its already satirical look at the week's news some proper, scary, sharp teeth. "John Prescott is so fat, that he can't put a tie and belt on without turning into sausages." Nice.
The show allowed Frankie a free rein, broadcasting many of his wince inducing jokes. Classic mainstream material like paedophilia, 9/11 and the monarchy all received the Boyle treatment while his fellow comics spent an equal amount of time wincing as they did creasing up with hilarity. Luckily, with perma-grinning scamp Russell Howard on board, there was a natural anti-Frankie, almost like some kind of universal law meaning that for every dark comic there's one who actually quite likes bunnies and cuddling.
Frankie's gags on the show often ended up on the cutting-room floor, as he pushed the boundaries of taste and decency so hard they began to develop sores. One particularly notorious joke about the nether regions of our beloved Monarch and the presence of ghosts therein was something of a highpoint for fans of shockingly funny censor scaring wit. Sadly, like all good things his time on the show came to an end – that wasn't to be the final word from our Frankie mind...
If you thought his edgiest era had passed you were, of course, mistaken. Frankie has a knack for naming which is every bit as visceral as his punchlines, and his I Would Happily Punch Every One Of You In The Face tour ran into trouble when quips about Down Syndrome caused a minor tabloid furore. Worse was to come, however, when he landed his own show, the crow-black Tramadol Nights, which allowed him to let off the black humour with both barrels.
Amid gags about Knight Rider and The Green Mile came straight-up, nerve-shredding, stand up from the man himself. When he made an off-colour gag about Jordan's disabled son Harvey, however, it was clear he hadn't lost his knack for leaving Middle England's knickers nicely twisted, and the woman of a thousand fake tans sprang into action to defend her wronged progeny. Whether or not you think he crossed the line, the incident raised yet more questions about comedy, censorship and free speech, but it may well have dented Frankie's hopes of a second series beyond repair.
Whatever may happen after Price-gate, Frankie's sure to keep true to his stand up roots, Frankie still plays the smaller, more intimate venues as well as the larger ones which he can now easily fill. So if you get the chance, go see him, but don't sit too close to the front because you'll get covered in sweary, bile-filled word-muck.