Within the first few seconds of his new show, Prometheus Volume III, Frankie Boyle warns his adoring audience that there’s going to be quite a lot of swearing, and that, for those of us from elsewhere, swearing is different in Scotland. “In Glasgow,” he explains, “the word f—ing is just a warning that a noun is on the way.”
It sets the tone for a very tight hour of expertly written, laconically delivered, often completely unprintable jokes – in fact, this particular gag is but a little fairy-cake compared to much of what comes later. Now 45, the former Mock the Week lynchpin strolls bearded and besuited about the stage, mic in hand, with an almost avuncular air about him, but – as you would expect – there is nothing remotely avuncular about his material.
Or is there? Warm and friendly, Boyle is certainly not (as an irked Liverpudlian who, on Thursday, idiotically tried to take him on from the balcony seats found out). And yet, for much of this set, there is a sense of Boyle trying to right the world’s wrongs as he sees them, take us under his wing, show the less enlightened the way: a scorpion on a moral crusade.