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Now that's what I call satire

Posted by Simon Parke, 19 June 2017, 1.38pm

Some satirists deliver quick-witted gags; Frankie Boyle also delivers gags, but they are hollow-eyed and bleak, with a back drop of existential terror and despair.

Laugh, by all means. But you may also want to shoot yourself.

His work reminds me of the 17th century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, who famously described the life of man as ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.

That catches the mood nicely.

And it is in this quagmire of hopelessness that he reviews the behaviour of the famous…and indeed everyone.

He’s as happy mocking amputees as he is American Presidents.

As in, ‘The tragedy is that if Oscar Pistorius had no arms, this would never have happened.’

There is no one off limits because in everyone there is a monster; and he sees himself (and his homeland) in every monster.

‘Nobody thought Mel Gibson could play a Scot but look at him now! Alcoholic and a racist!’

Comedy is meant to make you laugh; satire makes you catch your breath.

So with Boyle, there are no labels to hide behind; no great or good… and certainly no one left standing.

People say nurses should be paid more. Have they actually visited a hospital?’

He doesn’t come to preach, suggesting goodies and baddies or a right path to take; rather, he emanates a terrible solidarity between us all in our race to the gutter, in the shared-shower of hypocrisy, in our highly selective discernment of bullshit.

And I celebrate that; it’s a good place to start. Start from the unutterable fractures in ourselves and others.

You don’t have to end there…but it is the most truthful place to begin.

I close with his recent tribute to Theresa May, in his TV series, ‘Frankie Boyle’s New World Order.’

He compares the Prime Minister’s present predicament to that of a climber, clinging desperately on to the granite face, without grip or safe footholds…and no safety
net below.

For this is all she can do: ‘cling on or disappear, exist or die, and that’s why deep down I admire her, in a way I love her. Theresa May’s all of us, clinging on to our hopeless lives, our shitty dreams, she’s locked into an existential rictus of terror, devoid as we know of any other human quality except tenacity.’

Now that’s what I call satire…

P.S. ‘If you get offended by any jokes, by the way, feel free to Tweet your outrage on a mobile phone made by a ten year old in China.’

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