Frankie! Self-deprecating humour is meant to be about yourself, not, lazily, about your former neighbours, your home town, your country

I’m all for self-deprecating humour. I’ve used it often, to deflect bullying at school and later to charm my way into jobs. If it’s about you and your entertaining flaws, that’s your business but when in a lazy tactic to get cheap laughs, you scatter your performance with predictable and often, at best, dated stereotypes of your home town, it inevitably bores, hurts or angers those you’ve left behind.

This happened noticeably with Billy Connolly as he lost touch with Glasgow and began to use images of the drunkenness, drug addiction and violence even then largely unknown to the vast majority and distorting the truth of a city and people known for warmth, creativity and better jokes than he now had.

I’m still a big fan of Frankie Boyle’s sharp political insights and the effectiveness of them to make us think but recently I feel he has increasingly relied on negative and at best dated sterotypes of Glasgow and Scotland. Last night, in the opening minutes of New World Order on BBC 2, he said:

Joe Biden arrived in Glasgow. Joe Biden, raising the average life expectancy.

It must have been nice for Biden to leave America and come to a place where people don’t hate him for tribal political reasons and simply because he is a Catholic.

Quite a risk in Britain’s most depressed city to just have snipers everywhere.

(Guest Miles Jupp did question the above to be told by Boyle ‘It’s what I’ve gathered over the years.’)

This year scientists reported a record 18 degrees in the Arctic which is particularly shocking to people from Scotland because we have sunbathed in colder temperatures.

And I’m not sure holding it in Glasgow will inspire anybody to save humanity. I live here and I don’t bother to pull over for ambulances.

Any deal will likely be called the Glasgow Agreement, which will be appropriate because it will most likely be entirely toothless

First off, this is all so predictable, lazy, so rehashed Trainspotting. In 2021, none of these stereotypes is recognisable to me.

Joe Biden comes from a country where the poor have Third World life expectancies.

I have not personally witnessed a single anti-Catholic act or comment this century. You’d have to visit certain football matches or marches if you want to see it. It no longer meaningfully represents Glasgow.

Given the relative levels of racism, extreme poverty, lack of services, failing health care and rats, typical of many cities in England, you’d be better looking for depression there.

Stupid sunbathing Scots? Yeh, heard it before a million times. Anything new?

Not pulling over for ambulances? Really? You live here? Really?

Toothless? Yeh, like 50 years ago? Again, heard it before a million times but not this century.

To quote Anas, ‘Get a grip!’

6 thoughts on “Frankie! Self-deprecating humour is meant to be about yourself, not, lazily, about your former neighbours, your home town, your country

  1. Never been a fan of Connolly’s brand of crude and often infantile comedy. Boyle on the other hand can be brilliant but I guess when good original material becomes harder to come by reverting to petty insults about your own is a preferred backstop especially when your appeal now extends beyond these shores. Sad really that he feels he has to resort to this to get a cheap laugh.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yet another Glaswegian so-called comedian trashing the city and people that made him popular. Billy Connolly got a new wife, a posh house in the country and suddenly the city and its people were the butt of his jokes, and not in a nice way. I am so disappointed to hear that Frankie Boyle is following in his footsteps. He needs to get better material or move elsewhere because Glaswegians rarely forgive people slagging off their city.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s the Scottish cringe thing, it’s outdated, unwanted, and unwarranted. Grasping for material, ridiculing Scotland, not a good look. You don’t find it anywhere else, you don’t hear any English cringe.

    Liked by 1 person

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